Snow, sleet and ice are a big problem for drivers – and Maryland definitely gets its fair share of all three. Every new snowstorm tends to produce a lot of car accidents.
Is “bad weather” and lousy road conditions a viable defense to a car accident claim? Not at all. Here are the basics you need to know:
No matter what the weather, drivers are responsible for controlling their vehicle
Maryland’s laws “require that motorists drive at a reasonable and prudent speed with a regard for existing and potential hazards.” In other words, it’s every driver’s responsibility to decide when and if it is safe to drive. It’s also up to every driver to adjust their driving behavior according to the road conditions.
If the weather is bad and the roads are covered in snow or ice, drivers are expected to slow down, increase the distance between their vehicle and other vehicles and brake carefully. Losing control of a vehicle, even when it is due to snow and ice, is a ticketable offense.
Liability is tied to negligence, and it can be negligence to even be on the road
When a car accident claim is evaluated, the big question is whether or not the defendant was somehow negligent. Negligence is broadly defined as a failure to use reasonable care when there is an obligation to do so. Reasonable care is the sort of ordinary caution that the average person would use under similar circumstances. If the roads aren’t safe, a reasonable driver stays home.
If you end up in a wreck this winter, don’t let anybody tell you that the accident was “unavoidable” because of the weather. It’s wiser to get legal guidance and explore all your legal options.