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Road Departure

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Road-departure crashes are the most common and deadly of all

Each year road departure crashes account for more than half of the highway fatalities in the United States. This type of crash is defined as one in which a vehicle crosses an edge line, a center line, or otherwise leaves the traveled roadway.

According to the Federal Highway Administration three types of road departure crashes account for more than 70% of all road departure fatal crashes:

  • Overturns: 30% of fatal road departure crashes include an overturned vehicle, and 43% of fatalities happen at a curve in the roadway.  
  • Opposing direction: 23% of fatal road-departure crashes involve the situation when one vehicle crosses a centerline or median and hits another vehicle. These sometimes result in head-on collisions that can subject the vehicle occupants to devastating impact at high speeds.
  • Crash into trees/shrubs: 19% of fatal road-departure crashes involve a collision with trees or shrubs on the side of the traveled roadway; 48% of fatalities in these crashes happen where the speed limit is 45 mph or less.

How can the number of road-departure accidents be reduced?

There are several strategies that when enacted will reduce the number and severity of road-departure crashes, including:

  • better barriers between opposing lanes of travel;
  • rumble strips on center and side lines;
  • friction treatments on road curves to improve traction;
  • clear zones on roadsides.

How to help someone injured in a serious road-departure accident

Since these types of accidents tend to be more serious and result in critical or fatal injuries, it is crucial to find an experienced injury lawyer to handle an insurance claim. Even in cases where at first glance an accident seems to be the fault of the driver, there are often other parties that have contributed to the collision and who are potential sources of financial settlement. For example, when someone is hurt in a road-departure crash into a tree, an injury lawyer can assess whether a faulty road design or maintenance issue contributed to the crash.

 
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