Dead Mans Curve

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Dead Mans Curve Cases

Brien Roche

Dead Mans Curve Reveals Dangerous Roadway Facts

Dead mans curve is no overstatement. Many jurisdictions have winding, steep stretches of road where accidents have claimed the lives of unsuspecting drivers and passengers.  These stretches of road, sometimes called dead mans curve can indeed be fatal as reported by accident lawyer Brien Roche.

If you’ve been involved in an accident involving poor roadway design or failed safety design, there are facts you need to know:

Government agencies are charged with designing roads that are reasonably safe.  In that regard, roadways need what are called recovery zones so that an inattentive driver who meanders off the road has an opportunity to return to it safely.  Likewise, guardrails are necessary to redirect stray vehicles if there are nearby impediments that make reentry onto the road impossible.  Other such safety mechanism as rumble strips provide warning to drivers who have momentarily left the main travel surface.  In addition, adequate warnings of hazards are necessary to properly alert motorists to oncoming dangers.

Dead Mans Curve Can Be Contained Through Barriers

Guardrails which are seen alongside many of our roads and highway serve a dual purpose:  they tell the motorist of the course of the roadway ahead and they also serve as  a means of redirecting a vehicle back onto the pavement before it completely leaves the travel surface.  A guardrail may be required if a vehicle could be reasonably expected to leave the roadway and there is insufficient room for the driver to recover once he has left the roadway.

Jersey barriers serve a purpose similar to guardrails but they are typically only used in more congested areas.

A guardrail will fail to serve its purpose if the supporting vertical posts are too far apart thereby making the guardrail too weak to contain the vehicle.  Another common problem with guardrails is that they may become a mechanism for impaling a vehicle or its owners if the vehicle strikes the end of a guardrail.

Deadmans Curve Can Be Contained Through Banking

Engineers can determine the speed at which a curve can be safely travelled by using a ball-swing test.  This is simply a device that can be mounted on the engineer’s car and records the swing of a suspended ball as the car negotiates the curve at various speeds.  This may be a helpful test to perform to prove the negligence of the governmental entity that designed the roadway.

Another important aspect of highway design is proper banking.  Banking refers to the way that a road is tilted in order to compensate for the tendency of centrifugal force to cause  a vehicle to leave the roadway.  Defective banking may be a product of the age of the roadway which has resulted in the roadway sinking or it may be simply a result of poor design.

Some important publications that may be of assistance in evaluating cases like this are the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Maintenance Manual, the Roadside Design Guide, the Traffic Engineering Handbook and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

For questions about accident injury cases in Virginia, Maryland or Washington DC, contact accident lawyer Brien Roche.

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Dead Mans Curve

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