Sharp drop-offs are frequent when old roads undergo a series of repaving, but county planners congratulate themselves when they save money by not paying to blend the roadsides in a smooth decrease down to the shoulder. There are hundreds of these rural death-traps in Ohio. Until a vehicle's tires hit the fatal edge, unaware travelers cannot know how quickly their lives may change—or end.
Catastrophic injuries to unsuspecting drivers are routine in Ohio. Drop-off edges channel tires next to the road surface. It takes extra effort by the driver to pull the vehicle back onto the road over the high edge; consequently, the vehicle jumps forcefully up onto the pavement, causing many drivers to lose control. Their vehicles often careen across the median line into oncoming traffic.
Bad roads cause fatal accidents
One of many older Ohio roads subject to cost-cutting, Millikin Road was recently paved yet again. After 30 years, the right edge of the road was now several inches high above the shoulder. There might as well have been no shoulder, because--unless a vehicle was traveling at very low speed--there was no way to negotiate the steep drop-off safely.
On a romantic summer evening, stars glittered in the twilight sky as an excited group of local teens were on their way to a high school dance. A 17-year-old young woman was driving her older-model, compact car. Friends traveling with her were laughing, anticipating the fun they would have when suddenly, the young driver felt her car jolt as it hit the drop-off on the right edge of the treacherous roadway. Startled, she overcorrected. The small car bounced over a ditch and came to an abrupt stop when it crashed into a telephone pole. The three students wearing seat belts suffered serious injuries. Thanks to buckling up, however, they avoided death. The hospital treated their injuries and eventually allowed them to continue their recovery at home. Tragically, a fourth student had not worn her seat belt. Ejected from the vehicle, the young woman died upon impact from the catastrophic accident.
Proper road resurfacing ignored
A man who had lived on Millikin Road for decades knew the road was bad news. He had already replaced his mailbox 10 times from a multitude of unlucky vehicles tossed onto his property over the years by the defective highway. The American Society of Civil Engineers, alarmed by Ohio's crumbling infrastructure, tracks America's road deterioration as part of its research surveys. Ohio roads did not fare well in their latest report.