Types of Bad Weather
Driving in dry, daylight conditions is dangerous enough, with congestion, road work and unpredictable drivers making defensive driving skills a must. When bad weather enters the mix, driving conditions can be severely impacted. While a mild cloud cover might not stop your morning commute, pounding rain, severe winds or strong sun glare could cause any driver to lose control of their motor vehicle.
According to a 2008 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Noblis, Inc., over 1.5 million weather-related accidents are reported by police each year, a conservative estimate compared to the estimated 50% of weather-related accidents that are not reported, potentially increasing this number to an astounding 3 million or more. Its estimated that over 7,000 fatalities and 650,000 injuries occur each year due to weather-related incidents, making weather a common cause of auto accidents.
If you or a loved one has been affected by an auto accident related to bad weather conditions or other environmental factors, the victim may be entitled to file a claim for damages such as loss of wages, pain and suffering, medical bills or damaged property. Here at the Edwards Law Firm, we can help to determine if there are grounds to file a lawsuit and if so, advise on the best way to move forward with proceedings.
Types of Bad Weather
Most drivers know that it is potentially unsafe and generally not wise to drive in extreme conditions such as hurricanes or blizzards, but there are plenty of more common weather events that can affect both the road surfaces and the ability to operate a motor vehicle.
- Fog or Smog
- Sleet or Hail
- Severe Crosswinds
- Blowing Snow
- Blowing Sand, Soil or Dirt
- Sun Glare
While clouds are not generally seen as threatening or dangerous to drivers, over 18,000 Oklahoma auto accidents in 2011 occurred during cloudy conditions. Pouring rain can do more than make the road slick; torrents of heavy rain can obstruct vision to less than 50 ft.
Among statewide accidents in 2011, these are the top weather conditions reported during collisions, as presented by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office:
- Sleet or Hail
- Fog, Smog or Smoke
From clouds and heavy rains to snowstorms and tornadoes, Oklahoma's terrain allows for a range of extreme weather situations. Even the most confident drivers should be aware of the potential dangers and err on the side of caution in questionable weather.
Dangers of Driving in Bad Weather
While there can be many factors that can contribute to a serious automotive collision, there are some common effects from inclement weather than can affect a drivers ability to control a motor vehicle.
1. Visual Obstruction: a reduction in visibility is a common occurrence in many weather situations. Thick fog, smoke from wildfires (or other sources), torrential rain, snowstorms and glare from sunlight can all quickly cause a change in visibility.
What you can do: If your line of sight has been obstructed while driving, you can pull your vehicle to the side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so. Sunglasses are recommended for use year-round both for driving safety and to protect your eyesight.
2. Slick Roads: changes in road surface often happen during weather events. Changes in temperature and moisture, rain, snow, sleet and hail can all cause roads to become slick or even icy.
What you can do: Avoiding distractions can help if you are forced to drive on slick roads. You can drive at moderate speeds and look out for patches of ice or large puddles through which you could end up hydroplaning. The best way to approach either may be at a controlled speed with firm hands on the wheel. Braking on ice or while hydroplaning could cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle.
3. Loss of Motor Vehicle Control: weather conditions can often cause a driver to lose control of the automobiles steering column. This can happen on slick roads and during severe winds.
What you can do: If you lose control of your vehicle during severe weather, you may not be able to avoid an accident; however responding without panic can help you to regain control of the vehicle in some cases. There are many techniques that one can learn in a defensive driving course or other class that would help in such a situation.
If you find yourself on the road when a severe weather event occurs, often the best solution is to get off the road and seek shelter. In cases where stopping your journey is not an option, keep these dangers in mind, slow down and get to your destination safely.
Injured in a Crash? Contact Our Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has had an accident while driving during bad weather, or was injured by a driver during unfavorable conditions, our attorneys may be able to help you. You or your loved ones may be entitled to compensation for injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and more.
Receive your free, no-obligation case review when you contact us at 1-800-304-9246, and get the legal counsel you require if you've been involved in an automobile accident.