StolzenbergCortelli, LLP
Free Consultations  cta
Toll Free Number: 800-494-0889
Se Habla Español
View Our Practice Areas

What makes a road safe? Q&A with a highway superintendent (as described by the Journal News)

What makes a road safe? Why are there more accidents on surface roads versus highways? How much blame lies with the driver?

The following is taken from an excellent article written by Matt Cohen of the Journal News. The article may save some lives so I think it is worth reposting here:

"This year had a number of major motor vehicle crashes, including a four-car accident Aug. 15 on the Taconic State Parkway that killed three people, and an Aug. 21 truck accident in Ramapo that left two dead and shuttered the state Thruway for nearly nine hours.

Going into the holiday season - where travel increases and weather can be more of a factor - we spoke with Rockland County Superintendent of Highways Skip Vezzetti, who oversees, to varying degrees, 1,213 miles of roadway.

Question: What makes a safe road or highway?

Answer: If it's in good repair. Certainly that's a major factor, that our roads and bridges are in good repair, no potholes. Our county roads are rated very highly so we're in pretty good shape. That they're maintained very well during snow and ice incidences. One of the keys to that is doing anti-icing and getting out early, making sure you don't get black ice and icing conditions. That's usually the thing we worry about the most.

Q: Intuition might tell people that the highways are more dangerous than the surface roads, but I looked at some statistics we collected from the state DOT, and that doesn't seem like it's always the case.

A: There's things like the (Palisades Interstate) Parkway and the Thruway, when they do have accidents, they're probably worse because of the speed factor. Speed is usually the major factor in most of our fatalities or the fatalities in any municipality.

When you have fewer exits and entrances or intersections, there's less opportunities for people to pull out either to run stop signs or run red lights. Although, that same factor might ... affect the statistics, because we found that more often you have stop signs and/or lights or restrictions, there's more opportunities for these fender benders or these little rear-enders, where people will run into the back of somebody. That bumps the statistics up.

Q: I guess it's a difference in the nature of the accident?

A: That's right. Exactly.

Q: How much does human error come into play as far as road safety goes?

A: What we see, and what I see because I'm on the road all the time, people are driving around with (their phones), looking down half the time. That means they're not paying attention to their driving. Either that, or I see them (talking) on the phone. It's a distraction. For that reason, you see most of the time that's causing these fender benders or people drive to the left or drive to the right and when they get their attention back to driving, they have to make a recovery move, which makes things even worse.

I would say, by and large, the roadways themselves, although they can contribute if they're not properly maintained ... are not a major factor. The major factor is the nut behind the wheel.

Q: What do people do then, to stay safe on the roads?

A: If you know it's going to be snowing, making sure your vehicle is properly equipped, either with snow tires or all-weather tires.

Second of all, I don't care what kind of tires you have on, if it's icy conditions the best thing you can do is stay at home or stay off the roads. Let the highway people get out there and address the conditions on the road, because even our big trucks, if there's ice out, they'll slide as easily as anything else.

Night driving is another issue. ... We have a lot of roads that are not well lit, so people should just be more cautious, slow down, so that you don't over drive your lights."

Thanks Matt, Skipp and the entire Journal News staff for that article. It makes sense and the info could save some lives. I hope all drive safely during the holiday season.

For more info about automotive safety, please check out our library of articles on the subject. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • $2.05 Million Settlement Mother of Two Struck and Killed by Motorist

    StolzenbergCortelli LLP recently resolved a heart breaking wrongful death action. The mother of two was struck and killed, while she crossed a roadway.

  • $1.1 Million Settlement StolzenbergCortelli LLP Settles Trip Over Nail Case

    Terrence and Howard settled a trip and fall case for $1,100,000. In this case, our client (a resident of Brooklyn) was a cleaning lady who was hired to clean the newsroom of the Wall Street Journal.

  • $750,000 Verdict Jane and John Doe v. Defendant Driver

    The names are redacted for privacy reasons. In this automobile accident case, the female plaintiff was injured and suffered seriously debilitating injuries.

  • $525,000 Settlement Injured When the Trailer upon which He was Standing Collapsed

    Our client was a teamster, working at a concrete plant in Westchester, when he was seriously injured. At the time, he was standing on a trailer, which is colloquially known as a "low boy", when the wooden slats upon which he was standing, collapsed.

  • $457,500 Settlement Car Accident Victim With Pre-Existing Neck Injury

    Settled a client's case for $457,500. The client suffered a significant cervical spine injury requiring a fusion surgery.He was t-boned by a car exiting Purdy's farmer and the Fish in Somers, New York.

  • $450,000 Settlement StolzenbergCortelli LLP Settles Construction Accident Case

    Howard Stolzenberg settled a case for $450,000 where a construction worker was forced to use an exterior fire escape ladder to access the top of the building all while carrying a one gallon bucket of paint. The worker fell and fractured his ankle.

  • $100,000 Settlement Teenager Hit From Behind

    We just settled a case for a young girl who was injured when she was struck from behind while waiting at a red light at an intersection near the entrance to the Saw Mill in Yonkers. She had hip and shoulder surgery.

Email Us For A Response

Discover The StolzenbergCortelli, LLP Advantage

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

StolzenbergCortelli, LLP
Phone: 800-494-0889 Fax: 914-361-4478

3 Convenient Office Locations

White Plains Office
305 Old Tarrytown Rd.
White Plains, NY 10603

Toll Free: 800-494-0889
Fax: 914-361-4478
White Plains Office Location

99 Main Street
Nyack, NY 10960

Toll Free: 800-494-0889
Fax: 914-361-4478
Map & Directions

26 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11242

Toll Free: 800-494-0889
Fax: 914-361-4478
Map & Directions

  • White Plains Bar
  • Rockland County Bar