It is no secret that Charleston, South Carolina gets its fair share of bad weather. Poor weather conditions can create some very difficult situations on area roadways. Unsurprisingly, a disproportionate number of serious auto accidents occur during poor weather. When the weather turns bad, all drivers have a legal duty to make whatever adjustments are necessary to ensure that they can continue to operate their vehicles safely. There is a common misconception that accidents can be blamed on the weather, and therefore that the road conditions can absolve drivers of auto accident liability. This is simply not the case. Drivers are still liable for accident that they cause regardless of the weather. If you have been injured in South Carolina auto accident, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today to learn more about your legal options.
The Impact of Poor Weather Conditions
The United States Department of Transportation has conducted extensive research on the relationship between poor weather and driver safety. The studies have found that different types of weather events create differing types of risks on the roadways. The three weather conditions that are most highly correlated with increased accidents are: precipitation, wind and fog. Other factors like glare from the sun and hot pavement have also been found to be risk factors as well. Ultimately, though the weather conditions that cause loss of pavement friction or loss of driver visibility are by far the biggest risk factors. The study found that nearly 23 percent of all auto accidents take place during poor weather conditions. This is a striking finding, as it is certain that far less than 23 percent of all driving takes place during poor weather conditions. It is clear from the data that drivers are failing to make proper adjustments for the road conditions in adverse weather. Ultimately, it is important to note that weather alone does not cause a car accident. The legal control of the vehicle still rests in the hands of the driver. .
Drivers Must Adjust for the Road Conditions
Driving in South Carolina is a privilege. The reason that drivers are able to obtain a license is because they have proven that they have the ability, and willingness, to operate a motor vehicle with the appropriate amount of due care. Automobiles are inherently dangerous. Poor weather conditions only add to the potential dangers. Drivers must adjust to reduce the risks back down to a reasonable level. There is no hard and fast rule about what type of adjustments must be made. Instead, drivers are required to operate based on a general principle: all drivers must make whatever adjustments are necessary in order to ensure safe motor vehicle operation. The adjustments will vary considerably based on the road conditions and the experience of the driver in question. For example, imagine that it is a few hours after sunset and there are high winds and heavy rain falling. In those conditions, a teenage driver, who just got his or her license last week, should almost certainly not be on the road at all. That driver likely lacks the experience and skill necessary to ensure safe operation of their vehicle safely in those conditions. Ultimately, all drivers need to make whatever adjustments are needed to protect the safety of themselves and everyone else. Some common weather related driving adjustments include:
- Putting on a car’s headlights or the hazard lights;
- Allowing for far more distance in between cars than is needed under normal conditions;
- Driving much more slowly; and
- If conditions are too bad, simply stopping the vehicle in a safe location or refraining from driving in the first place.
Poor Weather and South Carolina Accident Liability
If you have suffered an injury in a South Carolina car accident, and the other motorist is attempting to blame the weather conditions, you need to contact an aggressive auto accident attorney immediately. It is very likely that an error made by that driver was a contributing cause to your accident, and thereby, your injuries. That driver needs to be held accountable for their negligence. The fact is, it is possible to safely operate an automobile in the vast majority of weather conditions. This can be done by making significant adjustments, usually in the form of a major reduction in speed and a major increase in the following distance. Further, the argument that the weather conditions make safe driving impossible does not hold water. This is because drivers have a legal duty to stop their vehicles if they are unable to drive safely. The bottom line is that you and your family need to be protected from the unreasonable risks created by other drivers. This is true no matter the weather conditions. When drivers fail to properly adjust, they are negligent. The data is clear; far too many serious injuries occur because drivers do not take their legal duty to operate their vehicle safely in bad weather seriously. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury because another driver failed to adjust to road conditions, you deserve to be compensated for the full extent of your damages. Though it is true that proving negligence in poor weather accident cases can sometime be challenging, an experienced Charleston auto accident lawyer can help.
Contact Our Office Today
While it is possible that poor weather conditions could have contributed to an accident, poor weather does not prevent negligent drivers from being held liable. All South Carolina drivers have a legal responsibility to adjust to the conditions of the road. It is never acceptable to put the safety of others at risk. Negligent drivers must be held accountable for the damage that they have caused. If you have been injured in an accident that occurred during poor weather conditions, our aggressive Charleston car accident attorneys can help. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our offices today to schedule a free review of your accident. At David Aylor Law Offices, we represent victims throughout the Charleston, South Carolina region, including in Berkeley County and Dorchester County.