Drivers who fail to adjust to weather conditions may be liable for accidents they cause
This year, California is experiencing one of the most powerful El Niño weather systems on record, with torrential downpours, mudslides, and strong winds making venturing out a risky proposition at times.
As in many places where wet weather is rare, here in the LA area we have a reputation for not being able to handle driving in the rain. And the facts support this stereotype—according to data from the California Highway Patrol, collision rates always increase in LA when it is raining. In fact, at certain times of the day, the hourly collision rates actually increase by 100 percent.
This may lead you to wonder…
…is bad weather the only cause for these extra accidents?
This question will feel particularly urgent if you have been seriously injured in a traffic accident during wet weather. After all, you cannot sue the weather for compensation for your injuries.
The fact of the matter is, while rainy conditions do increase the chances of an accident, it remains every driver’s responsibility to drive safely under any and all weather conditions. When drivers fail to slow down when roads are slick or when visibility is poor, they could easily be said to be driving recklessly and therefore held liable for any accidents they may cause.
However, when multiple drivers are going too fast for the road conditions or making other errors, liability can be split between them so that they are all equally liable for the accident. This is a very common scenario in wet-weather accidents.
Reduce Your Risk of an Accident
One expert from the Federal Highway Administration explains that rainy conditions can cause 3 main problems for drivers:
- Slick Roads: In areas like LA where long dry spells are common, all kinds of oily grime can build up on the roads. When it rains for the first time after a dry spell, this grime will come loose and make pavement slicker than water alone.
- Hydroplaning: When there is too much water on the road, the treads on vehicles’ tires can lose traction, causing them to skid or hydroplane. The risk of hydroplaning increases at higher speeds. Drivers in Mediterranean climates like LA are often unaware of how to correct hydroplaning once it begins, which can easily result in accidents.
- Poor Visibility: On rare occasions, rain may fall so heavily that it can actually obscure visibility. Drivers may have trouble seeing other vehicles or even seeing the lanes marked on the pavement.
By simply slowing down or pulling over at a safe stopping point when you encounter worrisome weather, you can easily avoid making a driving error that could result in an accident.
Get Expert Advice About Any Possible Injury Claims
If you feel you were driving safely and carefully in the rain and have been injured by another driver who was not being careful, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim against them. However, the case may be a bit more complex than usual and will require expert handling from an experienced car accident injury attorney such as Michael A. Kahn. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss the matter with Attorney Kahn, please call (310) 209-1600.