It is one of the first things drivers learn: when road conditions are wet, they need to be extra careful. Even so, every year thousands of drivers on the roads in Rhode Island will experience a collision during a rainstorm. While some accidents will cause little or no damage, severe collisions during bad weather can result in serious injuries and even death.
Stormy Weather Increases Risk Of Rhode Island Car Accidents
Driving when it’s raining requires extra vigilance. Water on the road can create slick conditions as the rain mixes with mud, oil, and other elements on the road’s surface, causing tires to lose traction. When a moving car encounters standing water on the road, the tires may begin to hydroplane, actually losing contact with the pavement. This is especially true if you’re driving at high speeds, but city streets and even parking lots can be affected. Additionally, rainstorms can blur visibility, making it more difficult to see other cars or recognize hazards.
Stormy Weather Is No Excuse To Be Hurt In A Car Accident
Although rain can affect road conditions, it isn’t often that “bad weather” can be used as a defense following a car accident that occurred while it was raining. All motorists have what is called a “duty of care” to others while on the roads of Rhode Island. They are expected to follow traffic laws, but the duty of care further requires people to drive attentively, observe and evaluate road conditions, and take reasonable precautions to prevent an accident.
Even if a collision happens during a rainstorm, a driver is expected to adjust their driving to fit the weather conditions. Additionally, if they fail to reasonably maintain their car for inclement weather, that individual cannot claim the rain caused their accident. Some common ways drivers fail to take the weather into consideration include:
Driving too fast.
Because the risk of hydroplaning increases as speeds increase, a driver who is moving too fast can cause an accident on wet roads. Even if the car is travelling at the posted speed limit, if that speed is unsafe for current road conditions, motorists are required to slow down.
Driving too close.
Rain not only affects traction while driving, it affects cars as they attempt to slow or come to a stop. Even when driving the speed limit, a car driving too close to the car in front of them may not be able to stop in time on wet pavement. If a driver does not provide that extra space for braking during the rain, they may be held responsible when they rear-end the car in front of them.
Driving while impaired.
Using drugs or alcohol while driving a car is dangerous in any type of weather, but especially when it’s raining. An impaired driver has slower reaction times, may become distracted or tired, or find it difficult to control the vehicle, and all of these are dangerous when road conditions are slick or visibility is decreased.
Driving an unsafe vehicle.
There are many safety features on a car that protect drivers during the rain: windshield wipers aid visibility; good tires improve traction; and exterior lights help drivers see and avoid other cars. If a driver does not maintain their vehicle— driving on bald tires or without wipers in good working condition— they can be held responsible when their negligent maintenance leads to an accident or injury.
What To Do After Your Rhode Island Car Accident
When an accident during a rainstorm causes serious injury or death, a negligent driver, their lawyer, and their insurance company may attempt to use the road conditions as a defense for why their client should not be held responsible, or to shift some of the blame to the victim in order to avoid paying for medical treatment or a costly settlement. To prevent that from happening, and to secure full and fair compensation for their injuries, victims need to have an experienced attorney fighting by their side.