Spring weather is unpredictable and can create conditions conducive to causing motor vehicle accidents. There are approximately 1.2 million weather-related accidents in the United States each year. It is estimated that these crashes lead to nearly 6,000 fatalities and almost 450,000 personal injuries. Many of these occur in the spring when rain, sleet, and slush reduce visibility and traction on the road. Staying safe requires motorists to prepare themselves and their vehicles for the weather conditions they may encounter.
Wrecking in the Rain
Wrecks in rain are common. Many are caused by drivers who lose control over their vehicle. As spring rains fall, the water mixes with oil and grease on the road to create a slippery road surface. This can facilitate hydroplaning even at low speeds.
Rain also reduces visibility and motorists may have difficulty seeing vehicles around them. This can lead to rear-ending and sideswiping. These problems are most common in heavy traffic conditions and during the periods before dawn and after dusk when there is limited light to illuminate the road.
Another common cause of rain-related accidents in the spring is ice accumulation on Chicago roads. As the rain falls and the temperature drops, this creates a thin and nearly invisible layer of ice on the road surface. Motorists can be cruising along on dry roads that suddenly become slick. This can lead to a sudden loss of traction and loss of control over the vehicle's direction.
Avoiding Wrecks in Spring Showers
Motorists should slow down and drive five to ten miles per hour slower than posted speed limits when the rain starts to fall. It is also advisable for drivers to turn their headlights on. Before spring arrives, motorists should inspect and change their windshield wipers if they are damaged, inspect tires for sufficient tread, check brake systems, and make sure front and rear defrosters are functioning properly. Any deficiencies, damaged components, or faulty systems should be repaired or replaced.
Liability for Weather Related Accidents
Rain, snow, sleet, and slush may be contributing factors in causing a motor vehicle accident. However, the law requires motorists to maintain control over their vehicle at all times. Ultimately, it is the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a manner that is safe for conditions. Thus, motorists who are speeding, fail to properly maintain their vehicle, etc. are liable for the accidents and injuries they cause.