A man recently died when he lost control of his vehicle due to wet roads in Ouachita County, as described by the Magnolia Reporter. He collided into a bridge railing, was ejected from his vehicle, and pronounced dead at the scene. But what if he had hit another vehicle in the process and injured or killed its occupants? Does the rain provide enough of an excuse to deny liability?
Drivers Must Adjust Their Driving Behaviors to the Weather
Of all the types of weather that increase the chances of crashing, rain causes the most car accidents. But will the court side with the driver who ran into you simply because it was raining, foggy, or for that matter, dark? The answer to that is no. Virtually all crashes are caused by human error, and while poor driving weather makes crashes more likely to happen, it does not mean that the other driver was faultless. All drivers are expected to adjust their driving behaviors accordingly to the weather. This means slowing down, allowing for more space between them and the car in front, turning on their lights, using their turn signals in advance, merging carefully and cautiously, not making sudden or unexpected maneuvers, and diligently obeying every other rule of the road. The court will hold a driver who loses control of their vehicle and hits you accountable for the crash if it can be shown that they were not driving in a reasonable manner that accounted for the inclement weather.
Underinflated or Bald Tires
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report found that drivers who drove on tires that were underinflated by 25 percent were three times more likely to crash than drivers who had tires inflated to the proper amount. Why? First of all, underinflated tires overheat more quickly, which can cause a devastating and fatal blowout. Secondly, under inflated tires do not handle properly, making them more difficult to maneuver, especially in emergency braking situations or during bad weather. Bald tires are also much more likely to lose contact with the road while driving in the rain, ice, or snow. While the winter months are generally the most dangerous, in terms of inclement weather, the summer months pose threats of their own as well. For instance, the roads are most slick during or right after a summer thunderstorm that was proceeded by a number of hot, dry days. This is because the oils from the road rise to the surface during times of heat and accumulate when no rain occurs to wash them away. The oils, mixed with a sudden downpour of water, can cause particularly hazardous driving conditions. However, as stated before, just because the roads are slick does not mean that the crash was unavoidable. And, as such, it is likely that one or more parties will be held accountable.
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