Failure to use reasonable care leaves drivers liable for bad weather accidents
According to the Federal Highway Administration, about 22 percent of traffic accidents in the US are weather-related. Surprisingly, icy roads and snow storms aren’t the top cause of weather-related car accidents. Nearly three-quarters of weather-related accidents happen in the rain.
Even here in sunny southern California, rain-related car accidents can and do happen. In fact, the good weather we typically enjoy here actually makes bad-weather accidents more likely, since drivers don’t have a chance to gain experience in adverse conditions.
For example, very few Californians even know what hydroplaning is, much less how to avoid it. Hydroplaning can occur during heavy rain if there is too much water building up in front of the tires. A thin layer of water will get in between the tires and the road, causing them to lose traction. While the vehicle is skimming along in this way, any sudden braking or turning will cause it to go out of control. Therefore, if hydroplaning is suspected it is best to avoid suddenly braking or turning and instead use slow corrections to control the vehicle.
Who Is At Fault for Weather-Related Accidents?
Very few accidents are caused purely by the weather. Instead, it is a driver’s failure to use reasonable care when accounting for and responding to weather conditions that causes an accident.
What constitutes “reasonable care” will vary according to the weather conditions at hand. For example, if the roads are a bit slippery due to rain, it’s probably enough to simply slow down a bit. But if such heavy rain is falling that it’s impossible to see the road, “reasonable care” would probably dictate that drivers pull over and wait out the storm.
Some examples of reasonable steps that should be taken during a rainstorm include:
- Drive under the speed limit
- Turn on your headlights
- Make sure your window defogger is working
- Keep plenty of distance between vehicles
- Be extra diligent to keep your attention on the road
The same driving behaviors that you might get away with on a sunny day could cause an accident on a stormy one. If this happens, you can’t blame it all on the weather. You will have to take responsibility for the fact that your failure to take reasonable care when driving in bad weather was the cause of the accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Bad Weather Accident?
If you have been injured by someone else’s poor driving during bad weather, it is well worth consulting an experienced car accident attorney such as The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker. The defense may try to blame the accident on the weather, but we know how to get to the bottom of the matter and prove liability. We will help you fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries, property damage to your vehicle, and your pain and suffering.
To learn more, please call us at 800-333-0000 for a free consultation.