According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), natural disasters and dangerous weather conditions cause a substantial number of car accidents across the country. In fact, weather-related car crashes are some of the most deadly types of weather disasters that occur across the country.
Although no one can control the weather, all drivers have an obligation to operate their vehicles in a safe manner, no matter what the weather conditions are. This means you may still have the opportunity to file a claim against the individual or entity who is responsible for causing your weather-related car accident injuries.
Car Accidents Are Often Caused by Inclement Weather
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are nearly 6,000,000 car accidents annually. Over 1.2 million, or approximately 21%, of annual motor vehicle accidents are caused by hazardous weather conditions. Weather-related car accidents involve any type of collision that happens during inclement weather conditions, such as:
Essentially, any weather conditions that may cause wet or slick pavements have the potential to cause collisions. Between 2007 and 2016, there were more than 400,000 weather-related car accidents and approximately 6,000 fatalities in weather-related crashes.
Shockingly, although fatalities caused by natural disasters and poor weather conditions are common, they occur more than 15 times more frequently in weather-related car accidents. This includes particularly dangerous weather conditions, including tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and blizzards.
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Most Dangerous Types of Weather to Drive In
According to the U.S. DOT, there are some types of weather conditions that are more dangerous to drive in than others. These include:
Snow, Slush, and Sleet
Over a ten-year period, snow and sleet are found to be responsible for causing an average of 210,341 car accidents and nearly 740 fatalities. This is, in part, because snow and sleet are known for reducing a driver’s visibility. If a driver has trouble seeing the roadways or in front of their vehicle, the risk of collision is far greater.
Additionally, in snow and sleet conditions, black ice can form. Since this is invisible, and the roads are slick, even motorists driving at the speed limit could be at risk for severe injuries if they slide on black ice or spin into traffic. Slush and snow on pavements were responsible for causing an average of nearly 175,000 motor vehicle accidents and almost 600 fatalities.
Rain is responsible for causing an average of more than 573,000 car accidents annually. This accounts for approximately 10% of all motor vehicle crashes and nearly 50% of all weather-related car accidents.
Any Weather that Causes Wet or Icy Pavements
Car accidents caused by wet pavement account for approximately 70% of all weather-related car accidents. This amounts to more than 900,000 total car accidents caused by wet pavement and nearly 4500 fatalities.
Fog conditions are also a significant threat to motorists. Fog can be blinding and dense. Areas of heavy fog can contain snow squalls or drizzle, creating icy road conditions.
In fact, fog conditions have contributed to an average of 28,533 car accidents and almost 500 fatalities annually.
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How Dangerous Weather Causes Car Accidents
Dangerous weather conditions can occur throughout the year. Bad weather can impair your ability to see the roads clearly, cause high amounts of precipitation, and result in extreme temperatures or high winds. All of these factors can have a devastating effect on a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
It is not unusual for these dangerous weather conditions to have a significant impact on the vehicle’s performance. Drivers may find their automobiles difficult to maneuver and control. It can be challenging for tires to retain traction. Additionally, dangerous road conditions can cause:
- Increased risk of a car accident
- Issues with traffic slow and congestion
- Destroy the road infrastructure
- Decrease pavement friction
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What to Do After a Car Accident in Poor Weather Conditions
If you have been involved in a car accident during poor weather conditions, you may wonder what your next steps should be. If possible, contact emergency responders immediately. If the weather is still severe, it is best to remain in your vehicle until healthcare providers and police officials arrive at the scene.
However, suppose the weather has calmed down, and it is safe to exit your vehicle while you wait for the police to arrive. In that case, you can attempt to talk to witnesses, exchange contact information and insurance details with the other involved party, and write a detailed account of how the accident occurred. This evidence could prove valuable in your case against the liable party when you file a claim with the insurance company or bring your weather-related car accident claim to court.
According to recent data from the DOT, weather-related car accidents are responsible for more than 5,000 annual deaths, which account for nearly 16% of all car accident fatalities. However, the number of injuries is significantly higher, amounting to more than 418,000.
When poor weather conditions come in, the best advice for drivers is to avoid the roads at all costs. No matter how safely you are driving, you cannot control the road conditions or the actions of other drivers. If you must head out on the roads during inclement weather, take steps to drive more slowly, and do not hesitate to pull over if road conditions or visibility deteriorate.
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Just because inclement weather caused your car accident does not mean you do not have the right to compensation. If another driver failed to operate their vehicle in a safe manner or the state failed to take necessary safety precautions to plan for dangerous weather conditions, you may have the right to financial compensation for your damages.
Learn more about what is next for your weather-related car accident claim when you reach out to a dedicated car accident lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC. You can reach us through our online contact form or by phone to start working on your insurance and civil claims as soon as today.