Into every life, a little rain (or ice, or snow) must fall. Unfortunately, bad weather is one of the driving factors in many vehicle accidents. According to the Federal Highway Administration, between the years 2005 and 2014, 22 percent of all vehicle collisions were weather-related.
While dangerous driving conditions are sometimes unavoidable, collisions are not. Most weather-related accidents can be avoided by driving cautiously. When it comes to liability, the most important question is whether the driver exercised sufficient care, given the conditions he faced.
Drive Carefully in Bad Weather
Regardless of road conditions, every driver must operate his vehicle responsibly. You can’t control the weather, but you can control your own behavior. On a clear day with light traffic, driving the speed limit is perfectly reasonable. However, when road surfaces are slick and visibility is poor, drivers are obligated to slow down and drive cautiously. Some of the ways drivers may fail to exercise sufficient care include:
- Failure to adjust driving style to the weather conditions.
- Distracted driving.
- Failure to use headlights when visibility is poor.
- Driving a vehicle that has poorly maintained windshield wipers, tires, lights, or brakes.
Events Beyond Your Control
Drivers who cause an accident in bad weather are generally still liable for the damage they have done. While a driver is obligated to operate his vehicle safely, there are some events that are truly beyond his control. If the high winds that often accompany storms cause a tree to fall across the roadway directly in front of an oncoming vehicle, and the driver loses control while attempting to avoid hitting the tree, he may not be held liable. Similarly, if a driver is maintaining a reasonable speed while driving on an icy road—but nevertheless loses control of his vehicle—he may not be at fault for the accident.
You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident while driving in bad weather conditions, you need professional representation from an experienced attorney you can trust. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.