Cases of car accidents and personal injuries are typically on the rise during periods of bad weather. Generally, snow, ice, and rain bring along their fair share of auto wrecks. So, the question is, do we just blame the bad weather for all accidents that happen in those times?
The answer is no. Even when the weather is bad, there are often people to hold responsible for auto accidents. Sometimes the fault could be with the local council or local road authority, which failed to take such actions as set up appropriate signage or maintain a road. Other times, the fault could be with another driver. Sometimes both parties could be at fault.
Now and again, people believe that if they’re at fault in a road traffic accident during bad weather, admitting this would hasten the process and allow them to move on with their lives. However, according to Rich Barnes, a car accident lawyer in NYC, admitting fault has a few other repercussions; “Admitting you’re at fault in a car accident could put a dent in your driving record and drive up your insurance premiums.”
What Are the Most Common Bad Weather Accidents?
Although poor weather conditions are known to increase car accidents, snow, ice, fog, wind, and rain are the most common reasons bad weather crashes occur. For instance, 85% of weather-related crashes in Texas happen during rain.
Rain is said to cause more car accidents because icy roads, fog, and high winds can look more hazardous than heavy rain. So, drivers tend to be less careful when driving through downpours.
Here are some reasons why driving in rainy weather is dangerous:
- When drivers underestimate the importance of slowing down in rainy conditions, speeding up leads to rear-end accidents.
- Wet roads decrease traction with the tires, which may cause car drivers to lose control of the vehicle.
- Heavy rain reduces visibility, making it difficult to estimate the distance between cars and see obstacles on the road.
How to Avoid Weather-related Car Accidents
- Put off driving until the extreme weather has passed its point of danger.
- Ask about other routes to evade impassable areas.
- Carry out your car maintenance before bad weather hits.
- Replace brittle windshield wipers and broken headlights.
- Check your car’s tire pressure and brakes.
- Reduce your speed by a third if you have to drive in bad weather. That will make you more able to avoid any road obstacles.
- Turn your headlights on and use your turn signals early when driving in the rain.
- Research road and weather information before and during traveling.
- Pull over in a safe area if the weather worsens, like decreased visibility in thick fog.
- Avoid driving into puddles of water, as it may result in losing control of the vehicle.
- Refrain from changing lanes or overtaking other vehicles.
- Turn on your emergency flashers to be more visible to other car drivers in rainy or foggy weather.
- Do not oversteer if you skid on an icy road, as this would only make the situation worse.
- Do not follow other trucks or cars too closely.
Liability of Car Accidents in Bad Weather
As a responsible car driver, you should be cautious while driving in bad weather conditions. If a vehicle driver over speeds during rain or storm and crashes into other cars because of a hydroplane, the driver will be liable for the crash. This is a good reason to lawyer up after a car accident.
Municipalities are also required to make reasonable efforts to prevent hazardous conditions from taking place and to fix dangers of which they should be aware, thanks to weather forecasting technology. If the government body responsible failed to fix a hazardous road condition that they should have been aware of, then they may be liable. If you believe your injury was due to improper road maintenance by the government, you can file a personal injury claim against the bodies responsible.
Factor to Determine Liability in Bad-weather Crashes
In weather-related crashes, your lawyer or the insurance company tries to determine the responsibility of the car drivers involved in the crash. Notably, the driver who caused the accident is held accountable in most bad-weather crashes.
So, how can we tell whether a driver is responsible for a crash? Answering the following questions can help the other parties decide whether a driver is liable or not:
- Has the extreme weather been warned against, or was it an extremely unexpected event?
- Has the driver’s speed rate been reasonable considering the weather condition or not?
- Has the car driver taken all the necessary precautions, like keeping a safe distance?
- Could the driver have taken any action to prevent the crash?
If a car accident is caused by the negligence of another, the affected party would have the right to seek compensation.
Driving in bad weather is a dangerous activity. To minimize the chances of an accident, make sure to keep your car updated and take all necessary precautions while driving. If you do find yourself involved in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence or poor road conditions, contact a personal injury lawyer right away to seek justice and compensation.
In addition to making sure you are safe on the roads during bad weather, it is important that everyone follows the proper safety rules when operating a vehicle. It is also important to remember that some insurance companies may cover accidents related to bad weather, so be sure you understand what your policy covers before getting behind the wheel! Stay safe and drive safely during inclement weather!