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Can bad weather conditions limit driver liability for a crash?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many crash risk factors are within the control of drivers. They choose the routes they follow, the way they operate their vehicles and how they allocate their attention. Vehicle maintenance and consistent compliance with state traffic statutes can also have a major impact on someone’s chances of a car wreck.

Certain issues, including the conduct of other motorists and the current weather, are beyond the control of individual drivers. Occasionally, collisions occur for reasons that people cannot predict or prevent. Weather is frequently a contributing factor to major motor vehicle collisions. Roughly 21% of the crashes reported each year have something to do with weather conditions.

Wet pavement, rain storms, snow, sleet and even high winds can increase the degree of crash risk for motorists. Does inclement weather absolve an Oklahoma driver of liability if they cause a crash?

Drivers should adjust their behavior

Every motorist needs to remain aware of their surroundings and maintain safe control over their vehicles. Acknowledging that weather conditions are severe enough to increase crash risk is important for safe driving.

Snow, sleet, rain and wind are all weather phenomena that can affect someone’s operation of a motor vehicle. Drivers need to know when to reduce their speed or otherwise change their driving habits to avoid a wreck. Allowing for more travel time during times of precipitation and especially when weather is particularly severe is crucial for ensuring safe travels.

Someone’s failure to increase their following distance or decrease their speed does not absolve them of liability if they cause a collision. In fact, an argument could be made for exactly the opposite. Drivers who do not adjust their conduct to reflect road conditions put their safety and the well-being of others at risk.

If wet, rainy or snowy road conditions are an underlying contributing factor for a crash, the person affected by the collision may have every reason to hold the other driver accountable for their unsafe habits. Insurance coverage could be available. People might even have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit in some circumstances.

Realizing that weather conditions do not typically affect liability may help people find the motivation they need to seek compensation after a crash.

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