How Does Weather Impact Fault in Highway Crashes?

Weather-related motor vehicle crashes contribute to a high number of fatalities in the U.S. than catastrophic weather disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Motorists face a plethora of weather-associated dangers every year, including rain, wet pavement, blowing dust, icy, slushy, or snowy pavement, and even fog.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), approximately 5.8 million vehicle collisions occur each year. About 21% of these collisions are related to inclement weather conditions. Likewise, more than 418,000 individuals are injured, and almost 5,000 individuals are killed each year in weather-related collisions.

How Weather Conditions Cause or Contribute to Fault in Highway Collisions

Weather can result in impairments in visibility, temperature extremes, high winds, and precipitation that impacts driver performance, crash risk, pavement friction, traffic flow, roadway infrastructure, and vehicle performance, including maneuverability, stability, and traction.

Therefore, driving situations with swiftly changing weather conditions can be especially dangerous to motorists. Blinding rain, dense fog, or heavy snowfall can significantly lower visibility from clear to potentially hazardous in just a couple of seconds.

Bursts of localized snow, also known as snow squalls, even if just for a few minutes, are likewise infamous for causing pileups during the winter season. Their short but quick and heavy snowfall rates negatively affect visibility while making roadways slick and catching motorists off-guard. 

In addition, blowing dust and heavy fog can also significantly reduce visibility in several seconds. Crashes associated with these adverse weather conditions usually involve motorists following other motorists too closely or driving too fast for the weather conditions. In some cases, rapid shifts in visibility could trigger severe to potentially fatal crashes as visibility declines from great to almost zero.

Likewise, drizzle in particularly cold weather may seem fine, but to some motorists, this poses a major hazard. Even the shallowest layering of ice on roadways can result in treacherous driving situations.

Seeking Compensation for Weather-Related Highway Crashes

Adverse weather conditions contribute to millions of motor vehicle crashes, and when a crash happens under these conditions, determining fault can be tricky. But drivers have a legal duty of care to drive their vehicles safely regardless of the weather conditions. This means that if you suffered injuries in a weather-related crash, you might be entitled to pursue compensation for the losses you suffered via a personal injury claim.

Remember, drivers must observe the speed limit and all the other traffic laws and take the necessary steps to avoid motor vehicle crashes. So even if a slick or icy roadway may have contributed to the accident, a driver may still be found at fault for failing to use extra care to prevent a crash.

Consult with a Cumming Car Accident Attorney Today

At Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP, our Cumming car accident attorneys are committed to helping injured victims secure full compensation for the injuries they suffered in weather-related collisions. We will work tirelessly to prove your claim and get you compensated properly. We offer a free case review where you can discuss your case and legal options with our Cumming car accident attorney. Contact us online or call 770-887-1209 to arrange your appointment.