Weather Related Accidents
Winter weather is something that cannot be avoided. Every year as the snow begins to fall, the roads become hazardous and winter-related car accidents occur. Some of these accidents are due to the weather or to the conditions of the roads and cannot be avoided, but in many cases the accidents are only in part caused by the weather. Often times a driver is traveling too fast for conditions, following too closely, or otherwise acting in a negligent manner not appropriate for the weather conditions, which leads to the collision and injuries.
Regardless of the time of year, there is usually more than one factor which causes a car accident to occur. In winter there are more factors that come into play. Whether the roads are icy, snowy, or just wet, the weather can make a significant impact and can aggravate other factors, including:
Visibility – In the winter months, falling snow may obscure visibility of drivers, restricting a motorist’s ability to see traffic, potential hazards, or even an accident in front of them. Snow and ice can accumulate on a car’s windows and windshields as well, potentially causing a decrease in visibility for those in a vehicle. Attempting to drive with low visibility means that a driver will have less time to see and respond to changing conditions, increasing the odds that an accident will occur.
Stopping Distance – Poor weather conditions means that cars need more distance to slow or come to a stop than they do at other times. Snow and ice on the road can cause tires to slip and slide, decreasing the traction between the tire and the road and causing the car to take longer to stop. If a driver ignores the need for additional stopping distance, the driver may not be able to bring the vehicle to a standstill in time for a turning car ahead in traffic or a red light, potentially leading to a collision.
Speed – Similar to stopping distance, the appropriate speed for traveling in winter weather is different than it may be during the warm, summer months. Speed is believed to be a factor in nearly 50 percent of all accidents nationally, including those that happen during the winter months. Traveling faster than advisable during the winter can lead a driver to lose control of a vehicle, potentially spinning out, striking another vehicle, or even leaving the road’s surface.
Black Ice – Black ice is a layer of ice on a road that may be difficult or impossible to see before a driver encounters the area. It gets its name because the road surface can be seen through the ice, and when the road is made of asphalt, it appears black. Black ice can emerge quickly and without any warning, putting drivers in a dangerous situation where they may lose traction or may have difficulty controlling their cars.
When it comes to driving in the winter, the best thing you can do is be prepared for the weather and to make adjustments to your driving in response. Consider leaving extra stopping distance between your car and the car in front of you or between your car and an intersection. In the event you encounter snow or ice on the roads, slow down and be mindful that your tires may not be able to grip the road’s surface as well as normal, causing slippery conditions for you and everyone in your car.
Even if you are driving as safely as possible, you are still at the mercy of the weather and of the other drivers on the road. Some things you can do to minimize your risk include:
- Clear snow from your vehicle
- Increase following distance and leave plenty of room for stopping
- Understand bridges and highway ramps freeze first; beware of black ice
- Avoid using cruise control
- Beware of overconfidence in a four-wheel drive vehicle
- Allow maintenance vehicles and plows at least 200 feet of clearance and don’t pass on the right
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a weather-related car accident contact The Scalora Law Group for a free legal consultation. We are experienced in weather-related car accident cases and have an established track record getting compensation for victims of weather-related car accident injuries. Contact us today at 860-344-9051 or fill out our contact form to have an attorney contact you back immediately.