Over 385,000 car accidents were reported throughout the state of Georgia in 2015, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. A National Safety Council report from February 2017 showed that the number of motor vehicle deaths within the state have increased by more than 30 percent since 2014. When these accidents and fatalities arise, a top question asked is, “Who was at fault?” It is fairly easy to determine car accident fault in Lawrenceville, Georgia, when a driver clearly committed a safety violation or broke an enforced law. However, who is at fault when the car accident occurs in inclement weather?
How Many Car Accidents Are Caused by Inclement Weather?
The United States Department of Transportation reports that over 5.7 million vehicle crashes occur each year, according to the Weather Channel. A statistic that is even more shocking is that nearly 22 percent of the total figure (1,259,000) involved inclement weather. Weather-related accidents take close to 5,900 lives each year and account for nearly 16 percent of all vehicle-related deaths.
In addition to those unfortunate statistics, there are also more than 445,000 people injured in these accidents annually. Even though there are no confirmed reports related specifically to Lawrenceville, GA, it is evidently clear that the aftermath and determination of car accident fault in weather-related incidents is a national concern.
What Happens to the Roads in Lawrenceville, GA in Bad Weather?
Studies over the years have confirmed that road conditions change drastically depending on the changes in weather and environmental conditions. While there are some similarities shared across the board, there are also key differences that allow each inclement weather type to stand out:
- Wind: Many drivers may not consider a windy day in Lawrenceville, Georgia, as being an inclement weather condition that can lead to car accidents. Contrary to popular opinion, wind can still have a devastating effect due to the visibility limitations it creates by blowing debris and dust into a driver’s line of sight. While reacting to unexpected debris, a driver may instinctively swerve into a different lane or crash into a median or railing to avoid hitting it.
- Snow: Snow is perhaps one of the most feared types of inclement weather when it comes to driving safely on the roads. This is primarily due to the numerous factors involved. Snowfall alone can drastically limit visibility – especially if it is a heavy flow. However, once it lands and sticks to the road, that is when the severity of the road conditions escalates. Layers of ice are created when the snow freezes. Once the sun goes down, deceptive patches of transparent black ice can quickly cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles.
- Rain: Similar to snow, rain creates slippery road conditions that can cause sudden hydroplaning and the loss of control on behalf of the drivers in addition to limited visibility depending on the severity of the rainfall.
How Can I Determine Car Accident Fault in Inclement Weather in Lawrenceville, GA?
As noted above, inclement weather can drastically affect road conditions and create life-threatening situations for in-route drivers. Since the weather cannot be charged with the car accident fault, who can? According to state law, the fault of the accident will still fall into the lap of the driver(s) who did not compensate for the inclement weather conditions.
Driver education classes, driver improvement courses, and even the state driver’s licensing manual make this point very clear: Drivers are expected to make the necessary adjustments to their driving actions and reactions in response to inclement weather. Two of the biggest changes that must be made is to leave a wider range of stopping distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you as well as driving below the posted speed limit. A common misconception that drivers make is the belief that they can “handle” driving as usual if the weather conditions are not “that bad.” According to state law, this type of attitude will essentially lead to a driver being blamed for any resulting accidents and resulting fatalities in which they are involved.
Do I Need an Attorney to Determine Car Accident Fault in Bad Weather?
If you have been involved in a car accident in Lawrenceville, GA that occurred during inclement weather conditions, it is in your best interests to invest in the expertise of an experienced car accident attorney. From corresponding with the other drivers and insurance companies involved to negotiating applicable car accident settlements, your attorney can guide you through each step of this overwhelming experience.