According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, a vertical roadway edge contributes to drivers losing control of vehicles when they go onto the shoulder. The vertical edge can cause tire scrubbing that is linked to rollover or head-on crashes. Studies conducted by multiple states found that crashes involving these edge drop-offs increased the chances of a fatality by two to four times.
Over the years, road engineers developed angled edges that enabled drivers to stay in control more often. Initially, an edge with a 45-degree angle was tested in the 1980s, but problems with perfecting its construction persisted until the 1990s. At that time, a 30-degree angle on the edge was found to be easier to construct, and it still allowed drivers a better chance of recovering from swerves onto the shoulder instead of losing control.
Known as Safety EdgeSM, the 30-degree edge is becoming the standard in a majority of states for roads without curbs. The process can be used on either concrete or asphalt road projects. A Bayes evaluation of the effectiveness of Safety EdgeSM published findings that it reduced crashes on two-lane highways by about 6 percent.
Although highway departments are working to install the safer road edges, accidents still occur for many reasons, such as texting and driving or reckless drivers. A person who has suffered catastrophic injuries in a head-on collision might be able to recover compensation with a personal injury lawsuit if the other driver operated a vehicle negligently. An attorney could help a car accident victim assess an accident investigation and potentially identify evidence of negligence. With a personal injury claim, an attorney could seek compensation for damages like medical bills, lost income and physical therapy.