Navigating Dangerous Roads Along California’s Coast


Navigating Dangerous Roads Along California’s Coast

I’m Ed Smith, a Thousand Oaks car accident lawyer. As local residents know, U.S. Route 101 runs from Los Angeles and through Thousand Oaks up to the northern coast around Olympic National Park.  It is used by many vacationers, businessmen and those who are visiting their families. Accidents are common, and there aren’t many other choices when heading up or down the coast, so many opt for Highway 154 from the Goleta Valley up through the Santa Ynez Valley to cut off some of their travel time.

Problems With Traveling Along Highway 101

Beautiful views along the way notwithstanding, both Highway 101 and Highway 154 become treacherous when the fog rolls in. You also have those who become mesmerized by the gorgeous scenery and become distracted, failing to keep their eyes on the road and traffic around them. These are several of the reasons for numerous accidents that contribute to serious injuries and deaths every year, including head on crashes.

Hazardous Travel Along Highway 154

Although taking Highway 154 can cut off some travel time, motorists face narrow twisting roads, treacherous curves and vehicles drifting over the centerline in addition to fog and impatient drivers. Caltrans has been busily at work trying to refashion some of the more dangerous curves where accidents commonly occur, such as the curve at Gaviota. This one curve alone had an accident rate over five times the state average for other similar curves. It cost about $7 million to make improvements designed to lower the accident rate in this area.

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Dangerous Road Conditions

Some dangerous conditions frequently encountered are:

  • Cliffs or sharp drop offs
  • Visibility obstruction
  • Dangerous curves
  • Entrance and exit ramps that are not conducive to merging traffic
  • Missing guard rails where needed
  • Tourist parking that may affect visibility
  • Warning signs that are obstructed or absent
  • Inadequate road shoulders

Dangerous Road Adaptation

Dangerous roads are often responsible, at least in part, for accidents. Both Highway 1 and State Route 154 are roads built in the 1930s and accommodated traffic in that era. However, today the roads are heavily populated by locals and tourists alike, including those in RVs. The speed limit varies from place to place but averages between 50 and 55 mph.

Since usage conditions have changed, the government is responsible for adapting the roadway for the changes. If the road cannot be restructured, use of warning signs and lowered speed limits may help make it less dangerous.

Evidence in Dangerous Road Cases

With the help of roadway forensic experts and traffic reconstructionists, an attorney can prove that were it not for the state or county’s failure to adapt the road to changing conditions and making sure highway safety is enhanced, the accident might not have happened. In this, as with other negligence cases, the plaintiff (the injured person) must show that the government breached its duty to keep the road safe for motorists.


Attorney Ed Smith

Thousand Oaks Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Thousand Oaks car accident lawyer. If you or a family member has suffered injuries because of a negligent driver, please call for my free, friendly advice at (805) 372-0200. I also have a toll-free phone line at (800) 404-5400.  

I have served the residents of California, including Thousand Oaks, as an injury lawyer for 35 years, helping recover fair compensation for those who are injured and in their wrongful deaths, after the loss of a loved one.

Reviews and ratings by former clients can be informative when seeking a Thousand Oaks personal injury lawyer. Find mine at Avvo, Yelp and Google Plus.

I belong to an organization called Million Dollar Advocates. It allows membership only from premier trial lawyers around the country who have demonstrated million and/or multimillion dollar verdicts or settlements for their clients.

To find more information on my practice, please visit verdicts and settlements to learn about some of our previous cases and how they were resolved.

Photo Attribution:  Courtesy of Daniel Case

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