Dangerous road conditions contribute to the increased likelihood of a serious motor vehicle crash. One of the reasons for this in rural Vermont is that many of our roads were designed and built before the automobile age began more than 100 years ago. Some of our Class 3 dirt roads have been improved over the years, but they were primarily designed to provide access to hill farms and logging operations many years ago. Vermont road crews do a fantastic job of dealing with continuing adverse weather conditions to make our roads as safe and passable as possible. However, there are structural design issues with our roads that are simply built-in to our local and state highway system and sometimes the roads cannot be made safe despite road crews best efforts when a storm is in progress.Some of the most common roadway hazards that can contribute to motor vehicle collisions in Vermont are as follows:

●Poor road design which may include inadequately narrow lanes, sharp curves and steep hills.

●Gravel roads that may be narrow, washboard surfaces or otherwise rough conditions, including potholes and ice at times.

●There is significant wear and tear on Vermont highways because of the freeze/thaw cycle, which contributes to potholes, cracks and frost heaves in the spring.

●Inadequate lighting in certain areas where there are intersections or higher concentrations of traffic that can make it nearly impossible for drivers to see signs, obstacles or pedestrians.

●As Vermonters well know, winter weather driving contributes to motor vehicle crashes. In addition to cold rain and snow, wind and fog can also make roads dangerous, even if temperatures are above freezing. Sometimes poor drainage of roadways increases the buildup of ice or water, causing slippery surfaces even when it isn’t precipitating.

●Construction zones increase the risk of crashes for both motorists and workers. Sometimes lanes and turns are too narrow or there is insufficient signage, and for night work the lighting may be inadequate or sometimes it is so bright, drivers are blinded. I know I hate being the lead vehicle through construction zones at night.

Whatever hazards may be in your way, the safest way to deal with it is to make sure you can adequately see the road and that you slow down.