Rough Weather Accidents: Dangers & Prevention
In recent weeks, the weather across the country has been unpredictable at best and downright dangerous at worst. Even down here in sunny Southern California, we have been deluged with heavy rainfall atypical of the region. Weather forecasts predict we are not out of the rough weather patch yet, either, with more El Niño like storms headed our way, possibly around April.
All of this bad weather means driving conditions are generally unsafe. To make certain you are out of harm’s way when you hit the road in rough weather, take a look at this quick list of hazardous weather conditions and how to stay safe in them.
Some of the most common rough weather conditions you might face when driving are:
Heavy rain: A dramatic downpour can spell real trouble for drivers on the road. Here
in SoCal, rain also brings the danger of mudslides along some major roads
and freeways. Drivers are most likely to lose control of their vehicles
during the first rainfall of a season. During this time, oil and contaminants
trapped in the asphalt rises to the surface, creating a slick before it
gradually washes away in the storm.
- Accident prevention: Always drive slower than you normally would in the rain. Reducing your speed by just 5 miles per hour can buy you much-needed time to come to a safe, non-skidding stop. Also, check your windshield wipers before driving to ensure they are in good condition and capable of clearing away the water.
Snow: Seeing snow in Southern California might seem impossible, but it has been
capping many mountains in the region as of late. Snow piling on the road
dramatically reduces your tires’ grip.
- Accident prevention: Invest in a good set of snow chains for your tires and learn how to equip them in a safe, controlled environment. You should also keep an emergency kit in your car that includes at least food, water, a two-way radio, and blankets in case you get stuck in the snow for a while.
Hail: Persistent hail with large stones can be dangerous to you
and your vehicle. Particularly large pieces or those at traveling at high
speeds can crack your windshield, obscuring your vision.
- Accident prevention: When the hail is fierce, try not to drive at all and wait it out somewhere safe instead. A moving vehicle’s velocity adds to the force of a hailstone, so your car is more likely to become damaged when it is moving than when it is parked.
Ice: Sometimes a cold morning can freeze morning dew and dampness into ice that
forms on the road. Driving over a patch of ice is likely to cause your
car to slip and slide.
- Accident prevention: During an uncontrolled slide, take your foot off the accelerator and gently apply the brakes in about two-second intervals. Without yanking it, turn your steering wheel towards the direction you want to go and do your best to keep it pointed that way as you spin.
Smoke and fire: Rough Southern California weather usually means a wildfire is clouding
the sky with smoke. Depending on the location of the blaze, smoke can
severely limit visibility.
- Accident prevention: When you must drive past an area clouded with smoke, turn on your headlights as if it was an overcast condition and be ready to listen to directions from emergency responders. The best option is to stay well away from areas with active wildfires if you can, which makes it easier for firefighters to reach the site unhindered by traffic.
Filing a Claim After a Rough Weather Accident
If another driver does not act safely in rough weather and hits you, then you can file a car accident claim against them. No matter how bad the weather gets, each driver still has the responsibility to control their vehicle or stay off the road if they are worried they might cause a crash. On the other hand, many rough weather accidents occur with no other drivers around. In such a situation, it might be found that poor road conditions mixed with bad weather contributed to your accident. If true, then the municipality in charge of that stretch of road might be liable for your accident.
Rather than trying to figure out liability and who could be held accountable for your accident on your own, let the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg in Orange County help. Our personal injury lawyers will happily manage your claim while you focus on rest and recuperation, just like you deserve after a bad accident in rough weather. Call (949) 565-4281 or contact our award-winning attorneys online to begin.