Fatal Henry County Accident Reminder of Need to Adapt Driving to Poor Weather Conditions
The Montlick & Associates Henry County auto accident attorneys are sad to report how a fatal collision on I-75 in Henry County provides yet another tragic reminder of the danger of navigating Georgia streets and highways when the roads are wet or visibility is limited.
While we have written in this blog before about the danger posed by driving in poor weather conditions, this recent tragedy reveals that even knowledge of the risk of being involved in a weather-related crash will not necessarily prevent a serious car accident. A report by the U.S. Department of Transportation Road Weather Management System provides guidelines as to how different forms of bad weather impact driving.
The federal agency website reports that over 1.5 million motor vehicle crashes per year are caused by inclement weather, which amounts to a quarter of all motor vehicle collisions. These auto accidents caused by bad weather also account for over twenty percent of all vehicle-related injuries and 17 percent of all vehicle fatalities. The agency reports the following relationship between bad weather and adverse driving conditions:
• High Winds: High wind speed can cause both diminished visibility and debris in the roadway. Wind can cause dust and snow to be blown around reducing the ability of drivers to perceive potential accident risks. Debris blown into the roadway can force drivers to swerve into an adjacent lane.
• Fog: Intense fog can severely limit the distance that drivers can see down the road. Because visibility is impaired, drivers have less time to respond to potential hazards like stopped traffic or objects in the roadway.
• Rain: While rain makes the roadways wet and slippery particularly after a long period without precipitation, heavy rains may cause road submersion. When water accumulates on the roadway, the puddles of water may cause cars to hydroplane, which is an extremely dangerous situation where the tires no longer maintain contact with the pavement.
• Snow/Frost: Roads can be extremely slippery when covered in ice and snow. Patches of black ice can cause horrific accidents. Black ice is particularly dangerous because it is virtually transparent so it can be hard for drivers to identify and avoid.
While adverse weather makes driving more difficult, weather alone rarely causes car accidents. Drivers are required by law to adapt their driving to fit road conditions. While drivers often drive five miles per hour over the speed limit, this type of driving may be the basis for finding a driver is negligent when visibility and traction are compromised by the elements. When a judge or jury evaluates driving to determine if a driver was negligent, this evaluation involves a consideration of all of the surrounding circumstances. This means that driving behavior that would not have been considered negligent in optimal driving conditions may be deemed negligent in adverse weather conditions.
Our experienced Henry County auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates offer effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our auto accident lawyers are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or Free 24-hour Live Online Chat.