On Monday, February 15, the Georgia State Patrol reported a single-vehicle accident that left 2 people hospitalized. The driver was traveling westbound on Georgia 96 in Twiggs County when they lost control of their Dodge Charger.
The vehicle overturned and traveled off the south shoulder before rolling down and stopping in an embankment. The passenger was ejected as the vehicle overturned and the driver was trapped in the vehicle for a short amount of time before emergency personnel were able to free them.
Both the passenger and driver were transported to Macon for treatment. Surprisingly, neither one suffered from any life-threatening injuries.
While the cause of the Twiggs County accident isn’t known, with the wintry mix and frigid temperatures the southeast has recently been experiencing, it’s possible the driver lost control due to poor road conditions caused by winter weather.
Common causes of road and weather-related accidents
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, these are the most common causes of accidents caused by poor road conditions and bad weather:
- Potholes. Usually caused by the result of water underlying soil and traffic passing over the affected area, potholes can cause a car to skid, knock it out of alignment, and damage your tires by puncturing the rubber or denting the rims.
- Wet roads. Flooded pavement or puddles in the road can cause a loss of friction between the road and the tires, increasing the risk of hydroplaning and losing control of your This can lead to just a moment of panic or a severe crash.
- Ice. When the thermometer reads below freezing, drivers need to be extra careful. Black ice on the roads can be just as bad, if not worse, as wet roads.
- Heavy rain and fog. These conditions can decrease visibility while driving and cause an accident, as well as reduce vehicle performance, reduce control, and delay travel time.
How to prevent a weather-related accident
Snow, ice, and heavy rainfalls can make the roads dangerous for drivers during their daily commute, and it’s important to know how to drive in bad weather conditions. Here are 4 tips:
1. Avoid driving if possible
Ideally, drivers shouldn’t go anywhere when it’s raining heavily, snowing, or sleeting. Especially during the cold months when water can turn to ice, driving in the winter when it’s raining can be extremely dangerous and should be avoided if possible.
2. Plan your route
If driving is absolutely necessary, make sure you plan accordingly. Your daily commute might look different on a rainy day in order to avoid roads that you know will flood or are in poor condition.
In addition to checking for bad weather and possible heavy traffic, we advise motorists to notify someone else of their planned route and estimated time of arrival.
3. Make sure your vehicle is ready to drive
Regular maintenance goes a long way to avoiding any sort of car accident. When the weather is bad or it’s cold outside, it’s especially important to make sure your car is ready to go.
Check your battery, tire pressure and tread. Also make sure you have at least a quarter tank of gas, if not more.
4. Drive slowly
Following the speed limit has never been more important to preventing an accident than in bad weather. While icy and snowy roads aren’t common in Georgia, that makes it even more dangerous when winter weather hits since people don’t have as much experiencing driving in these conditions. If there’s snow on the ground, reduce your speed by half in order to maintain control of your vehicle.
Rain or snow or sleet or ice, drivers should also increase the distance between themselves and other vehicles. This helps ensure that if you have to make a sudden stop, you’re less likely to hit another vehicle.
Can you sue?
Sometimes Mother Nature is the sole reason for the accident. But other times a third party is partly or fully responsible.
For example, if your accident was caused by a pothole or poorly marked roads, the party or government responsible for highway upkeep could be held liable. In order to determine this, investigators will gather as much evidence as they can, such as the speed of the vehicle and the weather at the time of the accident.
If they determine the driver did everything they were supposed to do and the accident was caused by poor road conditions, you may be able to file a claim.
The right Georgia accident attorney can help you determine liability.
What to do after a crash caused by poor road conditions or bad weather
If you or a family member are the victim of a weather-related accident, it’s important to report the accident and seek medical attention. Depending on the circumstances, drivers may suffer from severe injuries and damages to their vehicle.
Next, our Georgia attorneys can help you determine who’s liable for a weather-related accident and what you can expect if you decide to file a claim. At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson, we have been representing Georgia drivers for over 50 years.
Don’t hesitate to call one of our offices in Macon, Albany, and Warner Robins to schedule your free initial consultation. With over 200 years of combined experience helping car accident victims across the southeast, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.