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Can faulty traffic signals be to blame for an accident?

When a car accident or incident takes place, there are countless factors at play that could have contributed to it. Therefore, unless there is an obvious factor such as reckless speeding or drunk driving, it can be difficult and subjective to decide who is liable.

It is not just drivers and their behavior on the road that can be difficult to evaluate. Sometimes, a traffic system might be badly designed or just plain faulty. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) count it as their responsibility to decide on where to place things such as traffic signals.

What are traffic signals used for?

The intention of traffic signals is to increase safety on the road. They can manage high traffic situations, and allow time for pedestrians to pass. They also help to control speed, thereby lowering the severity of any accidents that do take place.

Can traffic signals ever be blamed for the occurrence of an accident?

Traffic signals and their placement are decided on by highly skilled engineers. They are meant for safety; however, they cannot be depended on entirely. They may cause a need for people to travel on alternative routes because of high traffic, and these alternative routes may be more dangerous. In addition, if they are faulty, they can lead to very serious accidents, both for drivers and pedestrians.

If you believe that traffic signals were to blame for your car accident, it is important to collect evidence in the form of photos and witnesses. You should contact your insurance company in the event of any accident.

Source: Virginia Department of Transport, "How Does VDOT Decide When and Where to Install Traffic Signals?," accessed Jan. 26, 2018

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