Articles Posted in Weather Related Accidents

Most Maryland car accidents involve a number of contributing factors that led to the final collision. Courts and insurance adjusters will look to the totality of the circumstances when making determinations regarding fault and liability. Several environmental factors may come into play when evaluating an accident. In most cases, an outside influence, such as weather, impacted the accident. However, it is essential to note that an unavoidable weather event does not necessarily remove responsibility from an at-fault driver. While bad weather may exacerbate an accident, drivers still maintain the duty of care to modify their driving to adjust to the changing weather conditions.

Bad or unexpected weather can cause a chain reaction of events that can cause catastrophic injuries to other motorists, passengers, and bystanders. For example, a recent sandstorm resulted in a deadly pileup. An out-of-state highway patrol officer explained that a 22-vehicle crash occurred after strong winds caused a sand and dust storm. Many drivers began stopping their vehicles because they could not see the road.

The sudden stopping caused various collisions, including accidents between large tractor-trailers and smaller sedans. Ultimately, eight people suffered fatal injuries in the accident, including four children. Authorities believe that a thunderstorm about 90 miles away from the dust storm stirred up dirt and dust that led to the sandstorm. The Weather Service advised residents that the wind surges could reach over 60 miles per hour. Accident scene photos depicted piles of wreckage and vehicles pinned underneath large trucks. However, these extreme weather events are becoming more common as the United States has been encountering several droughts.

Hundreds of crashes were reported in Maryland in the first major winter storm of the year in the state. The storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain to Maryland roads. According to a recent news report, there were 501 crashes, 233 disabled or unattended vehicles, and over 1,600 calls for service. A car turned over on Interstate 83 in one crash. Another crashed caused lanes to close on Interstate 70. Another crash left one man dead. According to law enforcement, the man was riding the back of a recycling truck when the driver lost control on an icy road, causing the truck to overturn and pinning the man under the truck. Officials said that most of the crashes were due to speed and explained that speed limits are set for ideal road conditions.

According to the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, weather can affect road safety by affecting pavement friction, traffic flow, driver capabilities, vehicle performance, crash risk, and agency productivity. Weather-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities account for 21 percent of vehicle crashes. Weather-related crashes kill more people each year than large-scale weather disasters, including tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Drivers in the state of Maryland have a duty to exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle, which means that they must drive carefully given the circumstances. This means that while driving the speed limit may be reasonable in perfect weather conditions, it likely is not reasonable in bad weather conditions, such as dense fog or on icy roads. Drivers must also exercise reasonable care whether they encounter emergency situations, such as another accident in the roadway, considering the time the drivers have to respond to the situation and evaluate the choices.

As February came, so too did a big winter storm, hitting the East Coast hard. Maryland was covered in snow, which, while pretty, can cause major complications on the roads and highways. Winter weather is a major contributing factor to Maryland car accidents and driving during or after a winter storm can be dangerous. Even smaller instances of winter weather than the one recently experienced can be cause for concern—freezing rain, for example, can cause roads to ice over, making them slippery and making it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles or stop.

For example, take a recent tragic Maryland car accident. According to a local news report, a fatal accident occurred in Jessup one Tuesday morning, on I-95 just before Maryland Route 32. Early that morning, three cars were involved in a minor crash, causing them to pull off of the road. Shortly after, the registered owner of one of the vehicles, a 36-year-old man, arrived at the scene to assess the damage. At this time, according to Maryland State Police, a driver of a silver Honda Civic traveling north on I-95 lost control of his car and then hit a Honda Accord. The impact of the crash pushed the Honda Accord into the owner assessing his vehicle, and fatally pinned him in between two vehicles. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Others were injured in this series of accidents as well—one man was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma center, and three other individuals were taken to Howard County General Hospital with injuries.

Local authorities believe that both crashes were caused by weather conditions, specifically, a storm on Monday evening that caused ice and slick spots on the roads Tuesday morning. In fact, Maryland State Policy said that between Monday at 5 PM to Tuesday at 5 AM, their officers responded to 63 crashes and 28 disabled/unattended vehicles and answered 424 calls for service. This highlights how important it is for Maryland drivers to remain vigilant and on high alert when driving during winter weather, or to avoid driving if they can.

If you have spent time over the last couple months anywhere from New England to North Carolina, you have no doubt seen the crippling effects of the most recent winter storms that came through the area. In some areas, total snow fall was being measured in feet, rather than inches. While this kind of weather is certainly inconvenient for most on the East Coast, it is also downright dangerous for those who need to use the roads during times of inclement weather.

According to one report by the Washington Post, one local Maryland man was recently killed in an accident that was caused at least in part by the snowy and icy roads. Evidently, the man was driving south on Route 97 in Howard County, near the Montgomery County border, when he took a turn too quickly.

Although the road was plowed at the time, the roadway was slick and the man lost control of his vehicle as he entered the turn. As he slipped out of his lane and into the lane of oncoming traffic, he crashed head-on into a northbound pick-up truck with a snowplow attachment.

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