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Bad Weather is Not a Defense in Car Accident Cases

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 By

Rain, ice, and snow impair a car driver’s ability to drive safely. 17% of all fatal car accidents and 20% of all car accidents resulting in personal injury occur during adverse weather.[1]

The fact that so many dangerous car accidents occur during bad weather is common sense for any driver in Maryland, as we try to navigate our congested highways and side streets. In bad weather, our visibility, ability to stop, and ability to control our vehicle are obviously limited.

Two of the major excuses I hear from negligent drivers are, “I looked, but I just didn’t see them,” or, “I tried to stop but couldn’t.” These excuses are not good defenses.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Driver’s Manual states, in part, that:

“Drivers must recognize and adjust their speed to adverse conditions. Maryland Vehicle Law requires that motorists drive at a reasonable and prudent speed and with a regard for existing and potential hazards. You may drive slower than the posted speed limit, based on road conditions, but it is illegal to drive any faster than the posted speed limit.”[2]

Under Maryland law, all drivers must use “reasonable care” when they are behind a wheel:

“The driver of a motor vehicle must use reasonable care. Reasonable care is that degree of caution and attention, which a person of ordinary skill and judgment would use under similar circumstances. What constitutes reasonable care depends upon the circumstances of a particular case.” Maryland Pattern Jury Instruction -Civil – 18:1 STANDARD OF CARE.

In short, slow down and be overly cautious in bad weather.

If you have been injured in a car accident, please give us a call at (301) 495-3131 or (443) 912-0002 for a free legal consultation. We will answer every question you have regarding your rights to recover from a car accident.



[1] http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact.htm – ten year average from 2002 to 2012 analyzed by Booz Allen Hamilton, based on NHTSA data.

[2] http://www.mva.maryland.gov/_resources/docs/DL-002.pdf

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