All drivers have experienced the stress of driving in rain, fog, or high winds. No matter how careful you are, there will always be someone on the road who refuses to adjust their driving in bad weather—putting you at risk of serious injuries.
How Bad Weather Increases the Risks of a Crash
Any weather conditions that affect visibility, maneuverability, or the stability of the road surface can make car accidents more likely. For example, crashes are more frequent and often more severe in:
- Rain. Heavy rain is one of the most dangerous weather conditions for drivers. A downpour decreases visibility, making it impossible to see where you’re going or to see other cars until they’re too close. As water accumulates on the roadway, a vehicle’s wheels may skid over the surface (hydroplane), causing the driver to lose control.
- Windstorms. Lighter vehicles and those with a higher ground clearance (like SUVs) are more likely to be blown off course in high winds. The faster a vehicle is traveling in windy conditions, the easier it is for the wind to lift it up, tip it over, or cause it to roll over.
- Fog or mist. High humidity can settle at ground level, making it hard to see even twelve inches ahead of you. To make matters worse, headlights often reflect off of dense moisture in the air, severely compromising visibility.
- Hail. Hailstones can come down suddenly and be big enough to dent vehicles or crack windshields, causing drivers to swerve off the road—or into one another.
- Icy conditions. Roads are especially hazardous on winter mornings after the temperature drops overnight. Drivers may attempt to brake only to slide, skid, or swerve into the vehicles around them.
Is Another Driver at Fault for a Foul-Weather Crash?
While another driver can’t be liable for the weather, they can be liable if they didn’t take the necessary measures to prevent a crash. If another driver failed to act responsibly while operating a vehicle in poor conditions, they could be guilty of negligence.
Drivers may be responsible for paying the costs of an accident if they were:
- Speeding. Driving too fast for conditions is a common cause of crashes, but it can have fatal effects in poor weather. Bad weather can cause dense traffic and lengthen a commute, and drivers may be tempted to speed when they’re running late.
- Tailgating. The space between vehicles should increase during inclement weather. However, drivers who are feeling inconvenienced may follow the vehicle ahead even more closely, running the risk of rear-end crash.
- Not using their lights. Drivers should use everything at their disposal to make sure they can see the road and that others can see them. This includes turning on low beams and fog lights, using turn signals, and making sure that both brake lights are working properly.
- Performing risky maneuvers. Careless or unsafe driving maneuvers should never be attempted in poor conditions, regardless of the vehicle’s safety features or off-road capabilities. A driver who was weaving between lanes, talking or texting on a cellphone, or otherwise taking unnecessary risks can be held liable in a crash.
- Braking too hard. Braking suddenly can cause a driver to skid or lose control of the vehicle. In wet or slippery conditions, drivers should slow down by lifting one foot off the accelerator, then braking carefully and gently.
- Driving under the influence. Drunk driving, driving after using illegal drugs, or even operating a vehicle while under the effects of prescription medication can affect a driver’s ability to react to hazards and use good judgment.
- Driving an unsafe vehicle. Drivers have a duty to make sure their cars are able to handle adverse conditions before setting off. We can investigate whether the car that hit you had worn brake pads, inoperable defrosters, bald tires, broken lights, inadequate windshield wipers, or other unaddressed maintenance problems.
A car wreck may be called an accident, but insurance companies don’t get to deny compensation just because “accidents happen.” If you suffered a crash while driving in bad weather, we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost income, and other injury costs.
Simply fill out our quick contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a proven personal injury attorney. To learn more about getting compensation after a car wreck, download our Free Guide to Getting Your Doctor Bills Paid After a Car Crash.