Maryland Car Accident in Snow
Maryland car accidents in snow occur with unfortunate regularity. The issue with snow is it makes it more difficult to maintain control of your car or truck. Of course, this conflicts with the nature of the law. Civil negligence law places a burden on all drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. This duty, one of the four elements of a negligence claim, requires that a driver behave as a reasonably prudent person would in like circumstances. This is a standard that is dependent on the unique facts of each case.
Dangers of Snow
There are many aspects of driving in snow that make it dangerous. First, when the snow is ongoing, it can reduce visibility. It is arguably worse than it is when it is raining. While one might expect the white color of snow to light up the road more than rain, this is not the case to a material degree. Further, snow flakes can be far thicker than rain. So, snow can affect visibility even during the daytime. Meanwhile, regular rain is unlikely to reduce visibility to the same extent. Snow is also more slippery than rain. This is not even considering ice. But snow itself can be far tougher on tires than rain.
In the winter time, we recommend getting winter tires on your car and only driving four-wheel drive vehicles when there is snow on the road. The reason this is so important is regular tires have tread that can become full of snow as you drive on them. Winter tires, on the other hand, are designed to avoid this problem. Thus, you will have more success gripping the road, turning, and accelerating.
Another common issue in the snow is it becomes more difficult to view road markings. This is another problem that distinguishes snow from rain. In the rain, you cannot see road markings such as the yellow paint separating directions on a road if it is too dark and raining so hard that you cannot see through your windshield anyway. But in the snow, snow can completely cover these markings. Then, drivers find themselves relying on track marks left from previous drivers. The problem is, not all these tire marks are on the exact same line. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish which marks go in which direction. Unsurprisingly, this can lead to catastrophic head-on collisions. Hopefully, drivers have enough sense to not drive too fast in such conditions. But, no matter how fast you are driving, a head-on collision is trouble for all parties.
Advice for Staying Safe in Snow
In addition to considering winter tires and driving a car or truck with four-wheel drive, we recommend maintaining a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Regardless of the weather conditions outside, you have a duty to maintain safety and control of your vehicle. If you hit someone in an accident, you are responsible. The plaintiff cannot sue the weather for you not controlling your car.
An important word of advice is to consider the circumstances of your travel. If you are in an isolated section of Maryland, where no one else is around or emergency services may not be able to find you, consider waiting for conditions to improve before venturing out. Some Maryland drivers get stranded without cell service and are stuck freezing for hours because their car is stuck. So before driving out into a storm, ask yourself if it is a necessary trip.
Making a Claim for a Maryland Car Accident in Snow
We caution drivers to be weary of other drivers. While, of course, you must focus on maintaining control of your own vehicle and there is little you can do to control other drivers, it is as important as ever to drive defensively while in the snow. This is not necessarily the legal standard. Rather, your duty as a driver in Maryland is to behave as would a reasonably prudent person who is also driving in the snow. However, for your own safety, it is something to keep in mind.
This also relates to making a claim. In Maryland, you may not be contributorily negligent in order to make a claim for the negligence of another driver. This means you may not be even 1% negligent yourself. What is negligent in the snow may be different from what is negligent under normal conditions. Furthermore, anything that happens to you that is reasonably foreseeable from the defendant’s perspective, you may obtain compensation for so long as you can prove it by a preponderance of the evidence.
Speak with an Attorney for a Maryland Car Accident in Snow
Our attorneys have been practicing personal injury law in Maryland for nearly 70 years. Our attorneys can explain the filing process to you, what your case is worth, assist in settling your case, explain the odds of winning, explain what to do after an accident, common injuries, whether you need a lawyer at all, and much more. If you are in an accident and believe you have a viable claim, call today for a free consultation. Our office number is (202) 331-7227.