Thanksgiving Week Black Ice Crashes Provide a Cautionary Tale Regarding Winter Driving
With the winter season upon us, wet and icy road conditions pose serious hazards for those traveling the roadways of the metro Atlanta area. Black ice forced the closure of multiple lanes of Fulton Industrial Boulevard during this past Thanksgiving week while GDOT workers attempted to clear the hazardous road condition, and a Clayton County motorcycle police officer was involved in an accident when he lost control of his vehicle on slippery black ice according to a WSB-TV 2 report. When rain saturates the roadway with water, it can turn into black ice in freezing conditions so that drivers face a greater risk of injury or wrongful death in a weather-related traffic collision.
While the police officer involved in the Clayton County motorcycle crash thankfully suffered only road rash, a minor concussion and a cut to his leg according to an Associated Press (AP) report, many motor vehicle accidents caused by poor weather conditions can be far more devastating. For example, similar road conditions caused a 65 vehicle pileup when multiple drivers lost control of their vehicles on a patch of black ice in a multi-car pileup in an eastern state during the same time period. More than half of those involved in this multi-car wreck were transported to hospitals for medical treatment.
The circumstances that faced drivers in this chain reaction collision were particularly challenging because the collision occurred immediately after drivers came over a rise in the roadway. Many of the drivers were visiting for the holidays so they were not familiar with the area. Law enforcement investigators indicated that these drivers had virtually no time to react as the initial collision and black ice were just on the other side of the rise according to the AP report.
When pileups occur in bad weather, some people are unclear about how impaired traction and/or visibility impact liability for property damage and bodily injuries. Although ice in the roadway and accumulated water in the roadway can impact the ability of a motorist to drive safely, drivers have a legal duty to travel at a speed that is safe given any adverse conditions from inclement weather. Multi-car chain reaction crashes are more common when fog, black ice and wet roadways reduce traction and vehicle handling while increasing safe following and stopping distance.
Although poor weather conditions do not insulate drivers from liability for traffic collisions, the pursuit of a personal injury or wrongful death claim under these conditions can be complicated. Multiple drivers are involved so there may be multiple insurance companies that all attempt to point their finger at another party or party for driving at a speed that was not safe given road conditions. Further, the insurance company for drivers who collide with your vehicle may claim that their insured was driving at a safe speed but there was simply no safe maneuver that could be executed to avoid the collision.
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If you or someone close to you in involved in a multi-car crash during poor weather conditions, our Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys 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 24-hour Live Online Chat.