Car accidents happen. That's why we call them “accidents,” and we all understand that an accident is one of the risks of driving on roads. But when an accident was avoidable or caused by confusing or incorrect signs, it can be frustrating. In some cases, the municipality or state can even be liable for damages caused by confusing signs within their responsibility.
There are some situations where confusing roadway signs are more likely to cause accidents.
- Wrong-Way Accidents
Wrong-way accidents are fairly common in Rhode Island. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 300 to 400 roadway fatalities happen across the country each year because of wrong-way driving. While many wrong-way accidents result from a physically impaired driver, they can also happen when signs are missing, confusing, or simply wrong. The most common wrong-way driving situation involves a driver entering a highway or interstate exit instead of the entrance. Entering an exit can easily happen when the entrance and exits are close together, and signs beside the road don't clearly and definitively identify the exit, particularly at night when there aren't many cars on the road with you.
- Covered or Broken Signs
Broken, missing, or ajar signs that the city or state hasn't yet replaced can also cause accidents. It's typically the city or state's responsibility to replace, repair, or mark road signs causing dangerous conditions immediately. If a sign is knocked ajar or has fallen over, the lack of signage can easily cause an accident.
- Construction Zones
Construction zones are another area where confusing signage can happen. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 80,000 traffic accidents happen annually in construction work zones across the country. Often confusing or improperly placed signs and pylons and road markers that don't clearly mark lanes can lead to accidents. In these cases, the contractor, subcontractor, municipality, or even the state may bear some liability.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident you believe was caused by confusing, missing, or broken signs, you need to speak with a skilled Rhode Island personal injury attorney. We may be able to help. Give Inman & Tourgee a call at 401-823-9200 or contact us online to set up a consultation.