Everything you need to know about weather-related car accidents in California
California residents enjoy nearly year-round sunshine and mild temperatures. The state’s climate is one of the reasons why real estate there is so expensive. It’s also a reason why many California drivers have little experience driving in bad weather, and even less experience in dealing with what happens following a weather-related car accident.
Normal car accidents are stressful enough, even when they do not involve other drivers. Add in excessive heat or cold, howling wind or the slippery dampness of rain or snow, and roadways can become frightening, confusing places to calmly deal with a major life event.
That is why Conexion Legal has a network of expert traffic accident lawyers who can help you sort through the aftermath. Simply call 1-800-201-1220 or write to us through WhatsApp to receive free legal advice, and if needed, we can connect you to car accident attorneys in our network.
How can weather impact auto accidents?
Weather can alter driving and roadway conditions, limit visibility and reduce the time drivers have to react to sudden events. Of the average 5.8 million motor vehicle accidents that occur every year in the United States, around 23 percent are related to weather.
Of those accidents, the vast majority are due to precipitation: 70% of weather-related accidents occur on wet pavement, and 46% occur during rainfall. Wet or slushy pavement can reduce traction, making it more difficult to control a vehicle. Torrential rain can create deep pools of standing water, which can obstruct lanes and shoulders, closing off potential escape routes in cases of imminent collision.
Severe winter conditions carry their own risks. Heavy snow can buckle tree branches and power lines, sending them into the roadway. Sleet, snow, hail, fog and mist can all reduce visibility and render headlights almost useless, reducing the time drivers have to take evasive action. While vigilance and attentiveness can help reduce risks of an accident in these conditions, severe cold also presents an invisible threat: Black ice. Black ice is usually formed when a light rain or drizzle falls on a freezing road surface. The thin sheet of ice that forms is virtually transparent, and practically invisible to motorists. Driving over a patch of black ice at speed can cause an immediate loss of control.
Of particular concern in some parts of California is wind. One of the state’s main commercial arteries is Interstate 5, which stretches through the flat, windy floor of the San Joaquin Valley. High winds can blow obstructions like tumbleweeds or farm debris into the roadway. Dust and snow kicked up by winds can reduce visibility. Severe crosswinds can even push high-profile vehicles like SUVs or big rigs from side to side into other lanes of traffic, sometimes suddenly.
How can I prevent a weather-related auto accident?
The best way to avoid them is to keep alert, and follow these five steps:
- Stay informed about the weather conditions in your city and surroundings. If you are planning a trip into the mountains, look at the snow report, and pay attention to frost and ice advisories.
- Fit your vehicle with the correct accessories, such as chains or snow tires. For snow chains, practice attaching them at home. Get comfortable attaching them with your hands, and then practice using bulky gloves, so you will be ready if temperatures drop.
- Make sure your insurance is up to date, and that you have a valid policy that covers weather-related accidents.
- Pay attention to the roads. Observe all signs and roadside warnings.
- When in doubt, slow down. Higher vehicle speeds are more conducive to hydroplaning and loss of traction, and higher speeds reduce the time you have to make crucial decisions. The faster you drive, the more likely you are to not see roadway hazards like mudslides, black ice or fallen trees and branches.
What do I do if I am involved in a weather-related auto accident?
If you are involved in a weather-related car accident, you can follow these simple steps to avoid making the situation worse, and to avoid nullifying the benefits you could receive.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident under any circumstances.
- If you are injured, do not try to get out on your own.
- Call your insurance company immediately. If you don’t have one, a traffic accident lawyer may be able to help you .
- Safeguard important vehicle documents.
- Try to identify where you are; that is, if you are the victim or perpetrator of the collision and immediately contact your advisor.
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Conexion Legal is here to help. Simply call 1-800-201-1220 or write to us through WhatsApp to receive free legal advice and guidance, and if needed, we can connect you to car accident attorneys in our network.