Weather conditions often impact drivers on the roadways in Alabama. Unfortunately, inclement weather often contributes to an increase in motor vehicle wrecks. Rain, wintery conditions, and even bright sun or high wind may contribute to collisions.
How Are You Responsible When Driving in Bad Weather
Every driver must always use “reasonable care” whenever operating a motor vehicle. This responsibility includes driving in poor weather conditions. That is why drivers must consider bad weather and respond safely every time they are behind the wheel. Actions that may be perfectly fine or legal under ideal weather conditions may become unsafe due to weather-related hazards.
When deciding if a driver was acting appropriately for the weather, the court may look at hazards created by weather. This includes traffic congestion and terrain, whether or not the driver knew to expect the adverse weather conditions, the type of vehicle driven, and the individual driver’s level of experience.
What Alabama Law Says About Car Wrecks and Bad Weather
Under Alabama law, if a vehicle skids or slides on a road made slippery by ice or rain, the driver is not automatically responsible for a resulting collision.
The mere fact that one vehicle slid into another is not enough to find the driver at fault. The driver is only liable if there is proof that the driver acted unreasonably in light of the slippery conditions.
This proof often comes from evidence that the driver knew about the hazardous conditions and did not make appropriate adjustments. For instance, proof that a driver traveled too fast for the conditions could make the driver liable. Another liability scenario is proof the driver drove into an area they knew or should have known was unsafe.
Lack of visibility due to weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or fog, can also contribute to a collision. However, the fact that a driver could not see is not necessarily a defense.
Tips to Drive Safely and Avoid Liability in a Car Accident
Alabama law also states drivers are responsible for operating their vehicle safely for the visibility conditions. This may mean traveling below the posted speed limit or leaving a greater following distance. It could also mean turning on headlights or pulling off of the road until visibility improves.
If a crash occurs, the excuse of “I couldn’t see them” due to the weather is not an automatic defense. Instead, it is up to a judge and jury to determine If the driver was acting reasonably considering the weather.
At Siniard, Timberlake & League, our attorneys have extensive experience pursuing cases against defendants who failed to operate their vehicles safely in inclement weather. We have successfully handled cases where drivers attempted to blame their crashes on snow and ice, rain, fog, and even “the sun was in their eyes.”
Call us if you or someone you care about has been injured because a driver acted unsafely despite the weather conditions. We can help.