As the month of October winds down and we enter November, the inevitability of winter’s arrival looms large. Winter snow opens up a variety of fun activities, but it can also pose serious practical problems. Icy roads and blinding snow can make driving much more difficult, and seriously increase the risk of accidents. The Federal Highway Administration reports a major increase in traffic accidents every year during the winter. Despite the fact that these car accidents resulted from the weather, the law still holds people responsible for them, so drivers should understand the way that the law views these accidents. Virginia Beach drivers should also take care to engage in safe winter weather driving practices.
Liability for Bad Weather Accidents
Many people are surprised to discover that they can be found at fault for a winter traffic accident even when they were following all of the traffic laws. The issue is that the law requires people to take reasonable care not to harm other people when they get behind the wheel. This reasonable care includes adjusting the style of driving for the weather conditions. For instance, when roads are icy, people need to take care to increase their following distance since it will take longer for them to come to a stop.
One major way this shows up during winter weather is with speed. Drivers often think that they are fine as long as they are following the speed limit, but that is not the case. The law draws a distinction between exceeding the speed limit and driving with excessive speed. The government sets speed limits with dry roads and clear weather in mind. It expects drivers to decrease their speed below those limits when the weather conditions call for it. If a person fails to do so, then the court may hold them liable if an accident results from that excessive speed.
Bad Weather Driving Tips
In order to avoid this sort of accident liability during winter weather, drivers should make sure to practice safe winter driving. One of the most important things to do to ensure safe driving is the speed modification discussed above. Beyond that, there are other steps that drivers can take. Drivers should begin braking earlier when approaching intersections because the slick roads will increase a car’s ultimate stopping distance. Drivers should also make sure that their cars are properly maintained. Having working wiper blades, proper tires, and effective brakes can make driving much safe. Additionally, drivers can also keep a snow or ice scraper in the car since icy windshields and windows can decrease visibility and make driving much more dangerous.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions we take, there are always negligent drivers on the road who ignore the dangerous hazards of driving in bad weather and do not take the same precautions. If you are injured in a crash caused by another driver, a Virginia Beach car accident attorney can assist you in obtaining financial compensation for any losses you have suffered as a result of those injuries. These losses include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, permanent disability, scarring, and more.
Contact the legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.