There are many factors that lead to a car accident, many of which are caused by bad weather. While most people think of poor weather conditions as heavy rain or low visibility, an often-overlooked cause of car accidents are high winds.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, bad weather causes about 21 percent of all car accidents, which includes strong winds. While drivers still have to exercise a duty of care while operating their vehicles, high winds can make it very difficult to do so. It also complicates liability in an accident situation. Here are some ways winds can make driving hazardous:
- Low visibility: When strong winds are blowing, there is a good chance that it is blowing snow, dirt, and debris around the road, hindering a driver’s ability to see well.
- Lane obstruction: Strong winds can knock over trees, power lines, and other heavy debris, which could find themselves obstructing the road.
- Traffic speed: High winds can cause a driver to realize that their vehicle is difficult to maneuver correctly, forcing them to reduce their speed. Reducing speed too abruptly can cause others to react unsafely, leading to an accident.
- Vehicle performance: Heavy winds can compromise a vehicle’s stability, control, and overall performance. Gusty wind can cause a top-heavy car like a truck or an SUV to rock back and forth; if this happens while travelling at a high speed, the vehicle becomes unstable and more likely to veer out of control.
How Can You Drive Safely in High Winds?
It is imperative for all drivers to be aware of their surroundings and drive defensively. A sudden gust of wind can surprise the most experienced driver, causing them to lose control. It is important to be focused and prepared for anything while behind the wheel.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast: Preparing yourself and knowing that there is a high risk of strong winds is possibly the best defense you can have. If there is a tornado warning, drive in the other direction and seek shelter.
- Drive defensively: Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other drivers, leaving enough space to maneuver in an emergency. Try to anticipate the actions of other drivers, and keep in mind that larger vehicles are more susceptible to strong winds.
- Do not drive over downed power lines: High winds can knock over power lines, so pay attention during windy weather and never drive over a downed power line.
How Do You Determine Liability in a Car Accident Affected by High Winds?
Determining liability in a car accident affected by strong winds can be quite complex and calls for the guidance and expertise of a car accident lawyer. Liability in a car accident is generally determined by whether or not a driver violated their “duty of care” to drive safely and protect others from harm.
Did a driver violate their “duty of care” because they failed to control their vehicle that was being pushed around by strong winds? The same question could be asked if winds blew an object onto the road, causing the driver to swerve out of the way and into another lane, causing a crash. A car accident lawyer can help answer those questions and help determine liability in cases such as these.
Freehold Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law, P.C. Help Accident Victims Determine Who is Liable for Their Injuries
Determining liability can be a complex matter, especially if bad weather or strong winds played a factor in your accident. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law today. Call us at 732-308-0200 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our offices located in Freehold, New Jersey, we proudly serve all clients of Freehold, Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.