Driving in general has many risks. Accidents are a frequent occurrence and can be caused by a multitude of reasons. Distracted driving, reckless driving and speeding are all common incidences, but inclement weather can be one of the most unpredictable.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 1.2 million vehicle crashes occur every year due to hazardous weather. No matter how good you are at driving, there are certain weather elements that make it hard to operate a vehicle.
Common Accident-Causing Weather
Weather can have a huge impact on driving because different elements can impair your vision and make it hard to see the road and other cars around you. Your vehicle’s performance can also be affected if the weather prevents certain functions from working properly.
Here are the most common weather conditions that lead to accidents:
All types of precipitation from rain to sleet and snow can leave the roads wet and slippery. When this happens, it eliminates the pavement’s friction and makes it harder for the wheels of your vehicle to find traction and keep you driving in a straight line. Moving at a fast speed will make it easier for your car to hydroplane and lose control.
Around 70% of all weather-related accidents occur on wet pavement due to the loss of traction and inability to brake fast enough or control your vehicle.
Rain in particular is a dangerous form of precipitation because it causes the pavement to get slippery while also impairing your vision. Depending on how hard and fast the rain is coming down, it can be nearly impossible to see a car in front of you until it’s too late. Combine that with no friction, and a rear-end accident is bound to happen. Or worse, braking will cause you to hydroplane. With both results, the driver is unable to keep control of their car because of the weather.
Another dangerous moisture to watch out for when driving is snow and sleet. As frozen water, snow also runs the risk of getting the pavement wet and frictionless after it falls to the ground and melts. Even if it doesn’t melt, if the snow is thick and heavy enough, it can stick to itself, build up on the roads and prohibit safe driving.
Small balls of ice, snow and sleet are hard on visibility. They easily blind drivers and make it difficult to distinguish objects on the road.
Similar to how rain creates wet pavement, snow and sleet can create icy pavement if the temperatures get cold enough. Icy roads can be even more dangerous, leaving them slick and giving your car almost no traction at all. If you aren’t careful while driving on ice, your car could easily lose control and cause you and others to crash.
Unlike most forms of precipitation, fog can come out of nowhere and appear in several different types of weather conditions at any point in the day. The main problem with fog is that it drastically reduces your ability to see. The denser the haze, the more likely you are to run into another vehicle or object on the road. Pair this with another dangerous road condition, and the risk of getting into an accident is extremely high.
Thankfully, fog is not known to last long, and you can easily avoid it for a couple of hours until it dissipates.
Other Elements to Look Out For: Wind
Many people may not consider wind to be a hazardous weather condition, but you should still be careful when driving on windy days. High wind speeds can blow dust and other debris into your line of sight and decrease your visibility. Wind can also put a lot of pressure or resistance on your car, making it harder to drive and control.
Pairing high wind with a form of precipitation can elevate its level of danger by making it even harder to see.
How to Avoid an Accident
Although the weather can’t be controlled, you can control how you drive. When you stay alert and take precautions, you can lower your risk of getting into an accident.
- Don’t go out in the first place
- Check the weather before you leave
- Control your speed
- Keep a lengthy distance between you and the car in front of you
- Be observant of your surroundings
Personal Injury Lawyers in Richmond
When you’ve been in a weather-related accident, it can be stressful knowing what to do. After getting yourself to safety and checking for injuries, make sure to get insurance information if another driver was involved.
Regardless of the weather conditions, you may be eligible for financial compensation if another driver is at fault. If someone rear-ended you from not braking soon enough on wet pavement or clipped you after slipping on ice, you can receive help for medical expenses and property damage.
As experienced and professional personal injury attorneys, Epperly and Follis will represent your claim from a weather-related vehicle accident. Contact us today and see what we can do for you.