American Suburbia: Creating the Illusion of Safety
Many neighborhoods are designed with meandering curves and cul-de-sacs intended to maximize the views and privacy of homeowners, but these designs create a feeling of comfort and an illusion of safety that’s responsible for a significant number of automobile accidents. Individuals who live in neighborhoods tend to drive approximately 18% more than residents of denser residential areas such as apartment complexes and city towers. These factors come together to increase the risk of having an automobile accident in a residential neighborhood.
The Illusion of Safety
Many homeowners and individuals who travel into the neighborhood frequently fall victim to a false sense of security that causes many to relax and tune out to potential dangers. Additionally, many motorists begin driving before adjusting seats, lights, mirrors, control knobs, etc. These distractions take the driver’s focus off the road and increase the potential for causing an automobile accident. Up to 33% of all automobile accidents occur less than 1 mile from an individual’s front door.
Among the most dangerous features within residential neighborhoods are cul-de-sacs which create blind corners, sharp curves, and confined spaces packed with parked vehicles, children playing, portable storage containers, and trash bins for motorists to navigate. These features limit visibility and increase the potential of head-on and side-impact collisions. They also significantly increase the potential of pedestrian accidents as many individuals ride their bikes, skateboard, or take evening strolls through the neighborhood. Even at low speeds, the impact from a vehicle colliding with a pedestrian can cause serious, life-threatening injuries.
Who is Liable for Accidents in Neighborhoods?
Individual motorists can be held liable for the personal injuries their actions behind the wheel such as speeding, drinking while driving, driving while distracted etc., can cause. However, when an accident occurs in a neighborhood, drivers may not be the only ones liable for causing an accident. Subdivision developers may be held liable for poor road design and layout that limits the visibility of motorists. Contractors can be liable for the installation of faulty roadwork or drainage systems that create conditions that contribute to an accident. Even individual homeowners can be liable for blocking the road with portable trailers, vehicles, trash bins and other obstacles that create hazards to navigation within the roadway.