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Bad Weather and Traffic Accident Liability

Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisconsin personal injury attorney, Wisconsin car crash lawyer, car crash, injuriesWinter is coming, which means that inclement weather is on the way. According to the Federal Highway Administration, it also means a spike in traffic accidents. While Wisconsin drivers are familiar with driving in ice and snow, they may not be so familiar with the legal ramifications for it, particularly if there is an accident. Although many drivers are content to blame the increase in accidents during bad weather on the weather itself, the law is not so forgiving. Courts still often assign fault to one of the drivers in these traffic accidents, so it is important for drivers to understand their duties in bad weather.

Traffic Accidents during Bad Weather

The issue that many drivers face in bad weather is that they do not understand the difference between speeding and “excessive speed.” Speeding is a traffic violation that involves going faster than the posted speed limits. Those speed limits were designed with dry, clear weather in mind, so it is entirely possible to be going the speed limit and still be going too fast under the law.

This is because the law imposes a duty to use reasonable care on drivers when they are on the road. If a driver fails to use reasonable care and causes an accident, then they can be liable for the damage they did. One way to show that the driver was not taking reasonable care is to show that they were driving too fast for the conditions, even if they were still obeying the speed limit. Consequently, drivers have to use their own judgment about how fast they should be going based on things like weather and visibility, rather than relying on speed limit signs.

Driving Tips

Driving in bad weather, especially bad winter weather, is its own type of driving, and it requires its own strategies. Here are a few tips for handling the icy roads that can make accidents less likely:

  • Make sure to drive at a speed appropriate to the conditions. As discussed above, drivers have a duty to adjust their speed to the weather.
  • Allow more space for accelerating and braking. Snowy or icy roads make it harder for the tires to get grip, so it is important to leave more room to stop and to accelerate slower.
  • Increase your following distance. As above, it takes more time to stop on snow, so cars in front need extra space to ensure a safe stopping distance.
  • Stay home if possible. While there are certain places that everyone has to get to, like work, driving in winter weather is always a risky proposition. It may pay to avoid unnecessary driving.
If you have recently been involved in an accident during bad weather and want to learn about your rights, reach out to an experienced Milwaukee personal injury lawyer today. We can help you understand your options, so you can make the best decision for your situation.
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