Hurricane Harvey pounded Texas with high winds and torrential rains. Thousands of people have been displaced because of the storm’s devastation. We can sympathize with Texans as they fight to recover from the destructive floods caused by the hurricane.
One of the dangers caused by Harvey is post-storm road hazards. These hazards can be dangerous for anyone on the road. However, it does not take a hurricane to create these dangerous conditions. A relatively weak storm, under the right conditions, can crease post-storm road hazards that can be deadly.
Common Road Hazards Caused by a Storm
If you are driving during or after a storm, you need to be aware of potential hazards. Being aware of the potential danger after a storm can help you avoid a catastrophic traffic accident.
- Fallen Branches — The wind from a severe thunderstorm can bring down branches and leaves. It can take road crews days to clear debris after a large storm. Be aware of this danger, especially when driving at night or in limited visibility. In addition, leaves and other foliage can make roads very slick after a rain storm.
- Downed Electrical Lines — Wind and fallen branches can bring down electrical and utility lines. In many cases these lines are “dead” because the power is out. However, you should never assume that a power line is not live. Furthermore, you cannot be sure when the power company may restore power causing downed lines to become live. Avoid driving near or over downed power lines as the lines can become tangled and caught in your vehicle. Even if the lines are dead, they can pose a danger to drivers.
- Flooding — Severe thunderstorms can cause flash flooding on roadways. After a storm, you need to watch carefully for areas that may have flooded. Standing water may be deeper than you realize and you can become stranded before you are fully aware of the danger. Running water can overpower a vehicle and sweep it away. Avoid driving on roads with standing water or running water.
- Malfunctioning Traffic Signals — Traffic signals can go out during and after a storm when the area loses power or the storm damages the signals. Some drivers do not understand how to handle an intersection where the lights are not functioning. Be very cautious when approaching these intersections and watch for drivers who may “fly through” the intersection without slowing down or stopping.
Tips for Protecting Yourself on the Road After a Storm
Stay at home if at all possible. You should only be on the roads after a severe storm if it is absolutely necessary. Give the crews time to clean up the debris, repair power lines, and restore power to the area. If you do go out, slow down. The road conditions are poor; therefore, you need to adjust your speed accordingly.
While you are driving, use your headlights (even during the day) and remain alert. You never know what could be around the corner that could pose a serious threat or danger.
Call a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney for Help
If you are injured in a car accident after a storm, do not assume that it is your fault and you cannot recover compensation for your damages. Call our office to discuss the specifics of your case to determine if you have a valid accident claim.