Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers Find Winter Storms Require Safe Driving Practices
Atlanta and much of the south has been hit hard by harsh winter storms that have caused drivers to abandon their cars, kids to spend the night at local schools and motorists to crash in multi-car pileups. Since the start of December an analysis of police reports reveals that there have been at least 42 multi-car pileups across the U.S. involving at least ten vehicles with at least one fatality according to a USA Today report. The epidemic of multi-car pileups, which amounts to approximately one per day during the applicable period, serves as a stark reminder of the hazards of winter driving in snow and ice that can turn the roadway into a junkyard that stretches for over a mile in a matter of minutes.
While there were at least a 107 multi-car pileups during 2013, these types of accidents cluster around periods of harsh weather with a third of the accidents occurring during the months of December, January and February. During these winter months, drivers often face blinding snow, squalls, dust storms and dense fog, which can make visibility poor and/or the surface of the roadway treacherous. The close relationship between multi-car pileups and harsh weather conditions is evidenced by the fact that 62 percent of all such crashes occur under adverse weather conditions according to the USA Today report.
Although difficult weather conditions often provide a catalyst for serious traffic accidents, traffic safety experts agree that unsafe driving behavior plays a key role in causing these potentially catastrophic vehicle accidents. Motorists who fail to adjust their driving sufficiently by reducing their speed to cope with harsh road conditions constitute a leading factor in causing such crashes according to traffic safety experts.
"Visibility is usually pretty poor when these crashes occur," according to the manager of driver training programs for AAA. He further explained, "Assume that the road is blocked just beyond the point where you can't see. Then you can adjust your speed accordingly."
Many drivers continue to travel at or near the speed limit when faced with adverse weather condition, without acknowledging that the posted speed limit is intended for optimal driving conditions. Drivers have a legal duty to adapt their speed to one that is safe given existing weather and traffic conditions. When motorists confront snowy, icy or wet conditions, stopping distances may decrease substantially, so prudent driving practices require drivers to reduce their speed. When drivers cause accidents in poor weather because they fail to adjust their driving, this may be considered negligence and result in financial responsibility if the driver causes a weather-related crash.
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