Driving safely does not just mean maintaining control of your vehicle and traveling at reasonable speeds. It also means remaining aware of road conditions that can put you at risk. One of the best ways to avoid accidents is through defensive driving, which means you need to remain aware of your surroundings, anticipate potential dangers, and act responsibly to stay safe.
Guardrails are typically placed alongside roads to help keep vehicles from going over a cliff. In certain areas around Santa Barbara, however, these guardrails are missing. Watch out for areas that lack guardrails, especially when driving along hilly roads or the coast, and do not pull over in those areas. Look for sections of road with signs posted to indicate where you can safely pull off the side of the road if you need to.
When you cannot see beyond an upcoming curve or bend in the road, it is known as a “blind curve.” Especially when traveling up the Pacific Coast Highway, watch out for these hazards. The roads going into and around Montecito, Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Lompoc tend to be very narrow, and if a vehicle coming in the opposite direction is riding the line or speeding around a blind curve, you may not be able to avoid an accident.
While potholes might not be as big a problem in Southern California as they are in places with harsh winter weather, they are still a real danger. Striking a pothole can do serious damage to your vehicle, tearing up your tires and mangling your alignment. This can cause additional damage, including the possibility of sliding or rolling over after striking the pothole. Watch out for potholes in the road while driving and respond accordingly, if you can, to avoid them. It is important that you do not strike another vehicle or pedestrian while avoiding a pothole, so always remain aware of your surroundings.
Driving in bad weather and poor visibility is a serious danger. Even a light amount of rain can be far more treacherous than it seems, as it can mix with sand and dirt on the road to create slippery mud. When foggy conditions or rain reduces your visibility, the safest thing you can do is slow down. This lets you react to your environment and makes it easier to maintain control of your vehicle.
BRIGHT SUN CONDITIONS
The Santa Barbara area sees sunshine often, as befitting a major city in Southern California. However, the sun provides its own dangers to drivers: glare. Along the Pacific coastline and on wet roads after a rainstorm, the reflection of the sun in the water can be dizzying; and when it flashes off the metal components of another vehicle on the road, it can cause blind spots in a driver’s vision. Right after sunrise and before sunset, the sun can shine directly into a driver’s eyes, making it much harder to see the road ahead. Motorists are encouraged to make smart choices to combat these dangers, such as using a sun visor, cleaning the windshield, slowing down when unable to see, and even purchasing polarized sunglasses.
If another driver disregards defensive driving strategies and causes an accident that was partially due to a bad road, that driver can still be held liable for your injuries and vehicle damage. If poor road design or conditions caused your accident completely, you may be able to pursue a claim against the road’s designer, installer, or the company supposed to perform regular maintenance upon it.
To find out more about receiving just compensation after being injured in a vehicle accident due to hazardous roadways, call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022. We offer a free consultation with an experienced Santa Barbara car accident attorney very familiar with the local roads.