As the winter begins to set in here in southern California, our conditions might not be quite as icy as elsewhere in the country, but that doesn’t mean the changing weather isn’t dangerous for drivers. A storm this week caused many car accidents around the state as drivers struggled to adapt to rain-slicked roads.
A California High Patrol officer told reporters that many drivers involved in accidents were simply driving too fast for the road conditions. This serves as an important reminder that speed limits are intended for “ideal” conditions, which means clear and dry. When rain hits the roads and highways the speed limit may no longer be a safe speed and drivers should exercise caution and slow down if they cannot see far enough or water is causing their car to lose traction.
During the storm overnight this week, the California Highway Patrol tallied 163 freeway crashes in unincorporated county areas. This is a major increase from those same areas which would have only about 50 crashes on over the course of an entire day when the weather is good. Many of the crashes involved cars that spun-out on the wet roads.
Drivers have a duty to themselves, their passengers, and others on the road to slow down and exercise caution when the weather gets bad. If they do not and an accident occurs, they could be liable for their negligent behavior. Victims can receive compensation for their injuries that could cover their medical expenses and any damage to their property that occurs during a crash.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, “Several crashes reported on wet roads,” Debbi Baker, Nov. 21, 2013.