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.