Car accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. However, when bad weather is involved, the chances of a wreck taking place increase exponentially. According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 22% of auto accidents each year occur in bad weather such as rain, sleet, snow, fog, heavy winds, or ice. On average, 73% of weather-related wrecks occur on wet pavement, 46% when it is raining, 17% during snow or sleet, and 13% on icy pavement.
Between 2005-2014, there were more than 1.2 million weather related car accidents across the United States. In these accidents, more than 445,000 people suffered injuries, and nearly 6,000 involved lost their lives. These are troubling statistics no matter how you read them, but they are even more concerning when considering most could have been prevented through exercising caution.
To recover for your losses following a car accident, you will likely need to show the other driver acted negligently. Negligence is generally defined as the failure to act reasonably under the circumstances. Generally speaking, drivers always owe other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others a legal duty to act reasonably, exercise caution, and drive safely. In the context of bad weather, additional precautions are typically needed.
Here are ways in which a driver can act negligently during times of inclement weather:
- Not slowing down
- Reckless driving
- Aggressively weaving in and out of traffic
- Driving with worn down tires
- Not using headlights
- Failing to remove ice and snow from windows, limiting visibility
Bad weather accidents can be complicated, as a defendant can try to deflect blame by pointing to the bad weather as the cause of the collision. Bad weather has been referred to as an “Act of God,” and he or she may try to argue nobody should be held responsible. However, even during periods of bad weather, drivers should react appropriately by slowing down and exercising caution. Failing to slow down could lead to outcomes such as hydroplaning.
If weather conditions are particularly bad or dangerous, the police may not be able to respond to the scene. Typically, police reports are a valuable source of information and can help jumpstart your attorney’s investigation into the wreck. If police cannot respond, you should still exchange information with the other driver, write down his or her license plate, obtain witness information, and take photographs. These sources of information and evidence can be later used to help you recover and prove fault.
Do You Need Legal Representation for a Car Accident?
The personal injury law firm of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz provides dedicated representation to accident victims throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Kentucky. Call us toll-free at 800-529-4004 or contact us through our online form for a free consultation with an attorney.