When bad weather hits, weathermen and drivers have perhaps the most difficult jobs. Weathermen are put into a tough spot with predicting bad weather, while drivers always have a challenge driving through the bad weather.
Weather can be fickle, and drivers can be fickle as well. This makes it problematic when, as a good driver, we prefer structure and predictability in our commute. We like when we know that all the traffic will be going in a certain direction at a certain speed and everyone who is turning uses a turn signal beforehand. We also like clear skies and sunshine, not in our faces, and we like not having to use our shades or wipers or have to turn on headlights at 10 in the morning.
Bad Weather Challenges
One of the things we can count on is that the weather can’t be counted upon; it is often difficult to predict and then see it come to fruition as predicted. We always have to be prepared for anything, even in places where the sun shines or it rains 300 days per year.
And it turns out that adverse weather conditions create some of the most dangerous situations on the roadways. Data shows that rain, specifically, is the weather that is the most dangerous in America when it comes to driving – in nearly 80% of the country, rain is the deadliest weather condition for drivers. Not only that, but car accidents in inclement weather – rain, snow, fog, wind – kill about 7,000 people every year.
How does that stack up? Let’s put it this way – the number of people killed every year by weather-related car accidents is higher than the numbers killed by hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods combined in a given year.
For all of the fear and terror from major weather events, car accidents caused by bad weather are actually a bigger threat than any of those major disasters. Let’s take a quick look at the impacts that each inclement-weather condition has on driving.
Wind can be a distraction for drivers, especially with higher speeds and/or higher –profile vehicles. A good wind may blow dust or snow around, which can affect visibility, and wind may blow debris onto the road which can block a lane of traffic or cause you to maneuver around the debris. If you are a higher-profile vehicle such as a truck, SUV or cargo truck, you may have to reduce speed to maintain stability on the roadway, as the wind may try to get under your vehicle and lift it off the ground.
Any kind of precipitation can cause its own share of problems as it varies from light rain showers to blizzard-level snowfall. Certainly, visibility can be affected, which means that cars will have to slow down, not only to work around the visibility but also to establish better friction or “grab” on the road so the vehicle handles better. And if the snow or hail has been falling for a period of time, there may be some lane blockage or a pile of snow on the roadway that may have to be navigated.
For the most part, fog mainly impacts visibility. The denser the fog, the less visibility a driver will have. This means that the driver would have to drive more slowly and find some delays in travel. Headlights are often used, and it’s possible to get into accidents if you follow lights off the road or if you run into a vehicle that does not have lights on.
When there is flooding on the roadway, heavy water will adversely impact the roadway and would greatly reduce friction between tires and the roadway, which make the vehicle more difficult to handle. This also means that the driver will have to slow down on roads so the car’s weight is forced down on the tires in order to develop better friction and thus better handling to avoid “hydroplaning,” the condition in which vehicles lose contact with the roadway and tend to float on the water.
Who is Responsible?
Bad weather auto accidents are quite common, accounting for more than 1 in 5 of all accidents in America each year. The problem is, if you are hurt in a car accident that is caused by inclement weather, Mother Nature may have liability but she can’t easily have claims filed against her.
So what to do in these situations? Bad weather is an unfortunate circumstance that can’t always be predicted accurately and can’t be controlled. In these situations, how can liability be established so you and others involved in an accident can be restored to wholeness?
Bad Weather Accident? Contact Us
If you are involved in a bad-weather vehicle accident, you should talk to a Memphis personal-injury attorney to discuss an independent accident investigation to determine all of the factors (besides the weather) that caused your accident. A thorough investigation of your accident can reveal all of the truth about what happened, and your rights can be protected should you need to file a claim for your damages and/or injuries due to a weather-related auto accident in Memphis.