The Unseen Hazards of St. Louis Roads: What You Should Be Aware Of

The Unseen Hazards of St. Louis Roads: What You Should Be Aware Of

Driving on St. Louis roads can be a daunting task, especially when you encounter unseen hazards.

Dodging the Arch or knowing when the Cardinals play is one thing. But, our roads hide some surprising hazards that can catch even seasoned Missouri drivers off-guard. These hidden obstacles often go unnoticed until it’s too late, leading to unfortunate accidents. Being aware of these issues is key to staying risk-free.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common yet overlooked road hazards in St. Louis and provide tips to help you stay safe.

Road Infrastructure Quirks

One of the biggest hazards on St. Louis roads is the presence of potholes and uneven surfaces.

These road imperfections can cause significant damage to your vehicle, ranging from flat tires to suspension issues. Potholes are particularly common after heavy rain or during the winter months, when the freeze-thaw cycle takes its toll on the pavement.

To avoid pothole-related accidents, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and scan the road ahead for any dips or cracks. Reduce your speed when approaching potholes, and try to maneuver past them if possible. If you can’t steer clear of a pothole, hit the brakes and gently ride through it.

Quick Tip: If you come across a pothole that needs attention, you can report it online via the City of St. Louis Street Division’s Pothole Reporting Page. You can also call 314-622-4800 to contact the Citizens’ Service Bureau (CSB).

The city aims to repair potholes within the following timeframes:

  • Major/arterial streets: Within 2 business days.
  • Residential streets: Within 7 business days.
  • Alleys: Within 16 business days.

You can also check your service request progress on the interactive pothole map at the link mentioned previously.

Blind Intersections and Obstructed Views

Another hidden danger on St. Louis roads is the presence of blind intersections and obstructed views. These areas can pose a significant risk as they limit your visibility, making it difficult to spot oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

Think the ramp maze on I-64/40 is confusing? You’re not alone!

Some interchanges have short merges, odd angles, or confusing signage. Common obstructions include overgrown vegetation, buildings, or parked vehicles blocking the line of sight.

When approaching such intersections, it’s essential to slow down, proceed with caution, and be prepared to stop if necessary.

Areas With High Pedestrian Traffic

St. Louis is a vibrant city with numerous bustling areas frequented by pedestrians, such as schools, parks, and shopping districts. Navigating these high-foot-traffic zones requires extra caution and vigilance.

When driving in pedestrian-dense areas, reduce your speed and be prepared to stop at any moment. Watch for pedestrians crossing the street, especially at unmarked crosswalks or intersections.

Remember, pedestrians always have the right of way, so yield to them when necessary.

Distracted Driving: The Silent Threat

One of the most prevalent yet often overlooked hazards on St. Louis roads is distracted driving. From checking text messages to adjusting the radio, distractions can divert your attention from the road in a split second.

According to the latest data, distracted driving is related to a substantial number of accidents in the city. The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety website reports that 84 people were killed in 2022 alone due to crashes resulting from distracted driving. In fatal cases, over 85% of the drivers were over 21 years old. During these crashes, 51% of people who weren’t distracted drivers were killed.

To combat this threat, the state passed a new law named ‘Siddens Benning Hands-Free Law’ in August 2023. This law restrains all drivers from manually interacting with their cell phones when driving. The law is named after Randall Siddens (34) and Michael Bening, 46, who both died in crashes involving distracted drivers.

The law makes Missouri the 28th US state to insist on hands-free use for drivers of all ages. It is also the 49th state to criminalize manual cellphone interaction when driving. So, either make use of hands-free devices or consider enabling the “Do Not Disturb” mode on your phone while driving.

Remember, focusing on the road can save lives.

The St. Louis Driver Factor

While you can’t control the actions of other drivers, you can control how you react and protect yourself. Consider the following pointers to make a difference:

  • Aggressive Driving Dangers: Unfortunately, aggressive drivers are a St. Louis reality. Don’t get drawn into tailgating, speeding competitions, or angry gestures. Let these drivers pass, and keep your focus on safe driving.
  • Merging Mishaps: St. Louis highway merges, especially on I-70 and I-44, can be chaotic. Allow space for merging vehicles as an act of courtesy and safety. Remember, unpredictable merges cause accidents.
  • Rush Hour Frenzy: Peak traffic times magnify risks. Stay alert, avoid sudden moves, and be extra cautious around exits where lane-jockeying happens. It’s better to arrive late than not at all.

The Importance of Legal Protection

Even the most careful drivers can get into accidents in St. Louis. If you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, it’s vital to understand your rights.

Car accidents can be overwhelming, causing physical injuries and financial stress. A St. Louis car accident lawyer who specializes in Missouri law can guide you through the complex process of dealing with insurance companies, medical bills, and lost wages. They’ll fight to secure the compensation you deserve, allowing you to focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track.

Your Safety Action Plan

Understanding the hazards is the first step. Now let’s equip you with proactive measures to enhance your safety on St. Louis roads.

  • Be a Proactive Driver: Defensive driving is key. Stay focused, anticipate other drivers’ actions, and never drive distracted.
  • Prepared for the Unexpected: Keep your insurance info handy, have a roadside emergency kit, and know what to do immediately following an accident (prioritize safety, call 911 if needed, exchange information).
  • What do I do if I’m in a car accident in Missouri? TorHoerman Law recommends checking for injuries first. Then, get to a safe location, exchange info with the other driver, take photos, and seek medical attention even if you feel fine.

In conclusion, navigating the roads of St. Louis demands awareness, caution, and preparedness.

By staying vigilant for hidden hazards like potholes, blind intersections, and distracted driving, you can mitigate risks and ensure safer journeys for yourself and others. Remember to prioritize defensive driving, be prepared for the unexpected, and seek legal assistance if needed. With these proactive measures in place, you can confidently navigate the streets of St. Louis, knowing you’re equipped to handle any challenges that come your way.

Stay safe out there!

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