No one can control the weather. However, there are certain things that can be done to lessen the risks of a car accident due to bad weather conditions. Approximately 21 percent of car accidents that take place in the United States are due to inclement weather conditions. When a car accident happens because of the weather, it can be difficult to prove who is liable. Conditions including snow and rain can make roads difficult and dangerous to drive on, especially for drivers who tend to drive fast. Fog and sun glare can also make it very difficult for drivers to see where they are going.
The answer may seem simple. If the accident was caused by bad weather, then it is not the driver’s fault. However, insurance companies do not see it that way. Drivers can rarely, if ever, use bad weather conditions as an excuse for a car accident, and will most likely always be held liable. When behind the wheel of a vehicle, regardless of road conditions, drivers have a duty to exercise caution. If they choose to drive in bad weather conditions, they are expected to practice an even higher amount of caution when driving. If drivers fail to do that and cause an accident, they will be held responsible.
What is Taken into Consideration When Determining Liability?
Although the driver is almost always held accountable for any damages caused due to a weather-related car accident, the weather conditions are still taken into consideration when determining liability. Other factors taken into consideration include:
- The driver’s knowledge of the unsafe weather conditions
- Driving too fast
- Driving too close to the car in front of you
- Not using headlights or hazard lights
- Whether the driver was distracted
How to Stay Safe While Driving in Bad Weather Conditions
There are a few things you can do to stay safe when roads are bad:
- If possible, stay off the road until weather conditions and roads clear up
- Drive below the speed limit
- Leave a safe amount of room between you and the driver in front of you
- If roads or weather conditions are too bad, pull over until they clear up
- Use hazard lights
- Pay attention and avoid distractions