How to help stay safe on poor-quality roads

As members of Congress continue to butt heads over the infrastructure bill, New Jersey residents, like people in every state, are left to deal with numerous roads that are badly in need of repair or upgrade. The upcoming winter weather won’t make them any safer or easier to drive.

If you’ve already been involved in a crash, you’re likely extra cautious about driving on roads that are damaged, poorly maintained or haven’t been upgraded to reflect the amount of traffic they carry. That’s a good thing. Let’s look at some more tips for driving on less-than-ideal roads.

Dealing with potholes and other road damage

The problem with potholes is that they’re often too big to avoid without moving into another lane, which can be dangerous. Sometimes the potholes you don’t see — those covered with leaves or snow  — cause the biggest problems. If you’re driving on a damaged or uneven road, slow down and allow plenty of distance between your vehicle and the one ahead. Watch to see if they encounter something that throws their vehicle off course.

If you have no choice but to drive over a pothole or large piece of concrete or other debris, slow down even more and keep ahold of the steering wheel. After you get to your destination, check your tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated and having them rotated and realigned regularly can help you maneuver bad roads and fix any issues they might have caused your tires or alignment.

Driving on unpaved roads

Watching your speed and keeping your distance are also key to safely driving gravel and dirt roads. Often, roads that get considerably more traffic than they used to aren’t upgraded for some time because the resources aren’t there or they just aren’t a priority.

It can take longer for vehicles to come to a stop on these roads than paved ones. These are the roads that may not see a snowplow after a winter storm. They can get extremely muddy and hard to maneuver after a rainfall. When it’s dry, vehicles can kick up dust and dirt that be blinding.

The poor quality of a road doesn’t excuse a person who isn’t driving in a manner that’s unsafe for conditions. If you’ve been injured by an at-fault driver, it’s crucial that you don’t settle for anything less than the compensation you need to cover your expenses and damages.