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Poor Weather Does Not Excuse Negligent Driving

Motor vehicle accidents have become an unavoidable fact of modern life, particularly in large metropolitan areas such as Atlanta. In fact, the United States Census Bureau reports that more than 10 million traffic accidents occurred during 2009 alone. The risk of being involved in an accident increases substantially in poor weather conditions, and while some of these accidents may be unavoidable, poor weather does not relieve drivers of the duty to drive in a manner that does not put others on the roads at an unreasonable risk of injury.

In many cases, people who are injured in accidents that occur in poor weather conditions will still be able to recover by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Consequently, it is important for anyone injured in such an accident to contact one of the experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers of Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. as soon as possible.

What kinds of poor weather conditions can cause accidents?

As anyone who has driven in poor weather can attest, it can have a significant impact on the way a vehicle handles as well as driver visibility. In certain extreme cases, poor weather may make it impossible to drive at all. The kinds of adverse weather that often lead to accidents can include the following:

  • High winds – High winds can make a vehicle extremely difficult to control, particularly for vehicles that have a significant vertical surface area, such as semi-trucks or some SUVs. In addition, strong winds can blow debris and other objects into the roadway, forcing drivers to take sudden evasive action or negatively impacting their visibility, further increasing the risk of a vehicle collision occurring.
  • Rain – Rain can make for extremely slick roads, having an adverse effect on a vehicle’s stopping distance and ability to turn. In addition, heavy rain can severely limit a driver’s visibility.
  • Snow – Driving on snow can be treacherous, even for all-wheel-drive vehicles. The accumulation of snow may cause a car to skid uncontrollably when attempting to make a turn or stop, significantly increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Ice – Accumulations of ice can make it nearly impossible to safely drive a vehicle, as there is relatively little friction between the tires and the road surface. As a result, drivers who drive on ice often lose control of their vehicles.

In order to determine whether a victim can recover after being injured in an accident that occurred in poor weather, it is necessary to determine whether the other driver was negligent in any way. In the context of a car accident case, negligence can take many forms, including speeding, distracted driving, failing to observe traffic regulations, or driving while impaired, just to name a few.

Importantly, driver conduct that may be considered perfectly reasonable during good weather conditions may actually be deemed legally negligent if they took place during an adverse weather event. For example, while driving at the posted speed limit is expected during clear weather, doing 70 miles per hour on a Georgia interstate would likely not be reasonable during a severe thunderstorm that involved high winds and heavy rains.