Ice, snow, rain and fog can all create dangerous driving conditions that lead to collisions. Despite the uncontrollable aspect of the weather, people behind the wheel do still have an obligation to operate their vehicle safely.
When road conditions are hazardous, who is at fault for a motor vehicle accident?
It is a good idea to stay off the roads if conditions are not safe. However, there are times when driving is necessary. In those circumstances, a reasonable person would expect slippery roadways or limited visibility based on recent or current inclement weather. Such conditions require extra precautions, such as:
- Driving slower
- Keeping a safe distance from other cars
- Using appropriate headlights
- Braking gently
In cases of low visibility or decreased traction, drivers must try harder to drive safely and carefully.
If a driver failed to take the necessary precautions that the weather required, they could be negligent and found at fault for causing the accident. Even though no one can control the weather, each driver can control how they react to weather conditions. This expectation is why road conditions do not always prevent driver accountability.
One exception to this expectation is force majeure, also known as an act of God. In cases of collisions caused by inclement weather, a force majeure could include sudden and unforeseen weather events like a flash flood, earthquake or tornado.
Drivers should make every reasonable effort to stay safe on the roads. Sometimes that means staying off the roads altogether.