Bad Weather Accidents in Baltimore
Bad weather accidents can be among the most damaging crashes you may be involved in as a motorist. When Mother Nature gets involved, things get unpredictable; you must always prepare for that. Sadly, many motorists ignore that sentiment and treat the bad weather like it is no big deal.
Blaming someone for an accident during bad weather may seem unfair, but it may also be an accurate assessment. It’s important not to overlook the chance that negligence played a role in your accident, as recognizing this could be key to ensuring you receive the rightful compensation.
Maryland motorists know all about weather-related car crashes. Icy Baltimore roads can make traveling more treacherous for everyone. You may be minding your own business when another car sliding along the road crashes into your vehicle. Everyone is vulnerable to those accidents.
In this article, we will go in-depth on the topic of poor weather car crashes in Baltimore, Maryland. We will get into the different types of accidents that can happen and their legal ramifications. You will also learn how to avoid those bad weather accidents.
By continuing below, arm yourself with the knowledge to navigate bad weather accidents.
What Are the Main Causes of Bad Weather Accidents in Maryland?
According to the Federal Highway Administration, 21% of the around 6 million vehicle accidents that occur annually are related to the weather. You likely already know that extreme weather is bad for driving, but the extent to which it increases risk may still be a surprise.
What are the main weather elements that increase accident risk for motorists? Let’s go through each of them in this section of the article.
Despite how dangerous rain is as a weather hazard, it often is not recognized as such because people experience it frequently. Many drivers underestimate the difficulties of slick roads, instantly making them more susceptible to crashes.
Going back to the Federal Highway Administration statistics linked earlier, the agency’s report reveals that 46% of weather-related crashes are from rain. Rain also contributes to 51% of weather-related injuries.
Treat rain like the hazard that it is whenever you are driving because anything less could lead to serious trouble for you and your passengers.
We cannot talk about potential road weather hazards without mentioning snow. Maryland residents are familiar with the threat posed by snow, but many may still not realize that it accounts for 18% of weather-related vehicle accidents. As it turns out, snow makes it harder for your vehicle to maintain a firm grip on the road and can be dangerous.
It is also worth mentioning snow’s adverse effects on visibility. You are more likely to end up in a rear-end car accident due to snow because it is hard to see vehicles nearby. Intersection accidents are also more likely because other drivers may turn too early, thinking there are no other cars in the area. By the time a driver realizes their mistake, they may already be in a position where they cannot prevent the crash.
Foggy conditions are quite common in Maryland, and most residents have grown used to them. Even so, you cannot become complacent when it is foggy outside.
The Federal Highway Administration notes that 38,700 vehicle accidents occur in foggy conditions every year. Those accidents also lead to an average of more than 600 fatalities and over 16,300 people sustaining injuries.
No matter how used you are to foggy conditions, you should still recognize them as road hazards. Treat those conditions lightly, and you will be in an unfortunate accident.
How Is Liability Determined in a Bad Weather Accident in Baltimore, Maryland?
Sorting out liability following a bad weather accident can be tricky because factors outside anyone’s control contributed heavily to what happened. If you attempt to go after the other driver for compensation, they may respond that the weather is the sole reason for the crash.
While weather’s role in certain vehicle accidents may be undeniable, that does not mean you cannot blame any party involved. The other driver’s behavior may still be a contributing factor, and you should highlight that in your quest for rightful compensation. More specifically, you and your lawyer should check if the other party was negligent in the lead-up to your accident.
Negligence can manifest itself in different ways in these car crashes.
Driving over the speed limit is illegal in any context, but it becomes even more dangerous in poor weather conditions. If the other driver in your accident was speeding moments before the crash, they are responsible for what happened.
Lane sharing is another bad habit that becomes more dangerous when it is raining or snowing outside. With visibility already diminished, a motorcycle rider can cause an accident by stopping too close to a vehicle at a traffic light. They may be held liable for an accident that occurs in that scenario. That is mainly because lane sharing is already prohibited in Maryland.
How you behave at an intersection can also determine if you can be liable for causing a bad weather accident. If the investigation reveals that you were following all traffic laws and the accident still occurred despite that, you may become cleared of any wrongdoing.
What Happens if Multiple Cars Were Involved in the Crash?
Bad weather accidents have the potential to be more catastrophic because they can easily lead to pileups. Due to poor visibility and how quickly motorists can lose control of their vehicles in rainy or snowy conditions, it is not hard to see how one collision can eventually lead to a chain reaction accident.
So, how is blame doled out in a multi-vehicle collision aided by bad weather? In many cases, the driver responsible for the first collision often shoulders the responsibility. The other motorists may argue that they did not see the initial crash in time, so they could not stop. Investigators may come to the same conclusion and blame that one driver.
However, multiple drivers could also share blame for the pileup. While one driver’s decision to drive over the speed limit may cause the initial crash, another distracted motorist could also make things worse. If you violated any traffic rules that led to your involvement in a pileup, you can expect to share the blame for what happened.
Sharing blame for an accident can have significant legal and financial ramifications for Maryland residents. Maryland adheres to the rule of contributory negligence when determining compensation in personal injury cases. That rule states they can bar plaintiffs from receiving compensation if they shoulder even 1% of the blame for an accident. Because of that rule, you could miss out on compensation even if your actions were only minor contributors.
Work with a Baltimore car accident lawyer to ensure you do not receive blame in the wake of a multi-vehicle accident.
Single Vehicle or “No Contact” Accidents in Baltimore
Driving in bad weather does not increase your chances of being involved in a pileup. Those conditions also make no-contact accidents more likely to occur. A no-contact accident involves only one vehicle sustaining damage. That is why authorities refer to them as single-vehicle accidents.
Even if only one vehicle suffers damage in a no-contact accident, that does not necessarily mean you can only blame the driver of that car for what happened. In many cases, another party’s actions directly caused the crash.
An example would be a distracted driver forcing another motorist to react to them. The distracted driver in that scenario may not notice that they have veered off their lane. By the time they realize what is happening, it may already be too late for them to correct their vehicle’s positioning. The icy roads are not helping them either.
Another motorist positioned next to that driver may swerve out of the road to prevent a collision. Unfortunately, that decision may lead to them striking another object nearby.
No contact ever occurred between the two vehicles, but it is clear that one party’s actions caused things to unfold the way they did. They must accept the blame for the accident and offer compensation to the other driver.
Other driving behaviors that could lead to no-contact accidents include failing to yield the right of way, improper merging, and drunk driving. Ask your lawyer to investigate your accident further to determine if those factors may have played a role. Take appropriate legal action if that proves to be the case.
How Do You Avoid Bad Weather Accidents in Baltimore County?
The weather may be unpredictable, but your behavior is not. You can take a more proactive approach to road safety and minimize the hazards of your driving. Recognizing the causes of bad weather accidents is only one part of prevention. Other safety measures you must take are detailed below.
Check Weather Reports Before Leaving
The best way to prevent bad weather accidents is to avoid harsh conditions altogether. To do that, you should check weather reports before leaving. Search online for weather reports using your smartphone and note when risky weather systems should arrive in your area. Plan your trip to avoid driving through those spots, or at least use them before the storms arrive.
Upon seeing severe weather systems approaching your area, you should call work and ask if you need to come in. Tell them about the situation in your area and ask if you can work remotely that day. Hopefully, they will allow you to work from home or take the day off altogether so you can stay safe from bad weather accidents.
Conduct a Thorough Inspection of Your Vehicle
Sometimes, you cannot avoid leaving home even if the weather is terrible outside. In those situations, you must take additional precautions to stay safe on the road. That means conducting a thorough inspection of your vehicle before leaving.
Ensure that the different components of your vehicle are working properly because you cannot afford a sudden breakdown in the middle of a flooded street. If your car has been suffering from some issues recently, it would be best to avoid driving. Ask a friend or family member for a ride since using your vehicle would be too risky.
Keep Your Wipers and Headlights Active
As we have discussed throughout this article, visibility can be an issue when driving in poor weather conditions. You must make your path as clear as possible, so remember to turn on your wipers. Upgrading your wipers is also a good idea if they do not provide the necessary visibility.
Using your headlights is also necessary, even if driving early in the day or afternoon. Keeping your headlights active also has the benefit of making you more visible. Other drivers should find you faster because of your headlights.
Depart Earlier Than Usual
Any motorist who has ever dealt with a wet or icy road knows how important it is to drive slowly and carefully. However, there are times when motorists may feel compelled to ignore their instincts and push their vehicles and driving skills a bit further. They may risk driving faster because they must reach their destination by a certain time.
Avoid rushing to your destination by leaving earlier than you normally do. Give yourself a significant time allowance to practice safe driving amidst the poor weather conditions.
Pull Over When Necessary
Lastly, you should not think twice about pulling over if the weather conditions are simply making it too dangerous for you to proceed. Do not risk wading into flooded roadways. Find a safe rest spot along the road and stay there until the floods recede. You should also handle snow the same way.
Car Accident Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland
Do you believe that another driver’s negligence is the reason for your bad weather accident? If so, attorney John Leppler can provide the legal assistance you need. Let John handle your case, and he will allow the facts to shine in your case. Reach out to us at Leppler Injury Law today and secure his expert services for your personal injury lawsuit!