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Run-Off Roadway Accidents Major Cause of Fatal Car Collisions in Georgia

December 25, 2010

Run-off roadway accidents often involve only a single vehicle but are among the most deadly types of motor vehicle accidents. A run-off road accident is a type of single car accident that occurs when a vehicle leaves the roadway. Although run-off roadway accidents account for only 16% of auto collisions, they account for 31% of all auto accident fatalities.

Even when run-off road accidents do not result in fatalities, serious injuries including head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, broken bones and fractures are common. Sadly, run-off road accidents are made more serious because drivers often panic when their tire drops off the roadway. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing victims of Georgia car crashes for over 38 years. We have provided this article to explain the causes of run-off the road accidents and suggestions on how to avoid such accidents.

Panic and over-correction by drivers when their tires leave the roadway often play a key role in serious run-off the road accidents. Drivers run-off the road for a number of reasons including the following:

• Excessive speed especially on curves in the road

• Distracted driving including texting or talking on a cell phone

• Bad weather making the road slippery or reducing visibility

• Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

• Defective tires causing a blowout

• Driver taking evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision with pedestrians, cars or animals

One reason that run-off the road accidents are so deadly is that they often result in the vehicle rolling over especially when the vehicle is top heavy like SUVs. These rollover accidents frequently result in passenger ejection or roof crush injuries. Many of these accidents occur when drivers lose control of the vehicle after over-correcting when a vehicle tire drops off the roadway.

If the roadway is constructed properly, many accidents can be prevented. If a public entity's negligent roadway design, construction or maintenance of a roadway contributes to a Georgia run-off the road crash, the governmental entity can be liable for resulting injuries. Research has shown that most drivers can regain control of the vehicle when it leaves the roadway within 30 feet of the edge of the road. This area is referred to as the "clear zone" which should be free of curves, slopes and other obstacles. Negligent design, construction and maintenance of roadways by public entities can increase accident rates or turn minor incidents into serious auto accidents. Safety measures that can help prevent serious run-off the road accidents include providing properly placed guard rails which can reduce injuries and fatalities from run-off accidents by 45% and proper placement of signs which can reduce accident rates by 30%.

While there are clearly measures that government entities can take to reduce the frequency and seriousness of run-off accidents, there are also things that drivers can do in the interim to reduce their risk. If you realize that you have accidentally run off the roadway, you should remain calm and not over-correct your steering while simultaneously easing off the gas. You should turn your steering wheel one-eighth of a turn to the left. Once your car's tires are on the road again, you should turn your wheel one-quarter of a turn to the right. Almost all drivers find themselves inadvertently leaving the roadway at some point, and this simple driving maneuver can keep you from being involved in a run-off the roadway accident.

At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have represented many people just like you throughout Georgia who have suffered serious injuries or death in Georgia run-off the road collisions. Our Georgia traffic accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or visit us on the web at No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.