SNOW, SLEET & YOU!
If you are injured this winter in a car crash because of another driver’s negligence, don’t just chalk it up to Mother Nature. Poor driving conditions mean all must drive with care. It’s that simple. No one gets a free pass for bad driving in bad weather. The snowflakes aren’t hiding anything. And you are not out of luck because the at fault driver decided to just blame it on the weather.
The MTO reminds us that everyone behind the wheel must adjust to winter conditions. They highlight the three key elements of winter driving: 1) stay alert 2) slow down & 3) stay in control. This should be common sense to Canadians. But you would be surprised how many drivers forget the basics when it comes to winter driving.
All drivers must drive according to highway and weather conditions. A safe following distance must be maintained between you and the vehicle in front of you to avoid situations where you may have to hit the brakes suddenly. Too many drivers rush and drive too fast for poor winter driving conditions. Sometimes telling themselves, “I have to drive faster to get home before the storm gets worse.” That kind of logic puts every other driver on the road in peril.
While driving too fast for poor road conditions may not be spelled out as a traffic infraction (unless over the speed limit), if combined with other unsafe driving like failure to stop at a stop sign, turn not in safety or running a red light, and a serious collision results, police may well lay charges. A careless driving charge is also a possible. Make no mistake: an Ontario Highway Traffic Act charge against the negligent driver certainly helps an injured Plaintiff’s case.
But even if there isn’t a charge when a collision and injuries result, our insurance companies and ultimately our Courts must determine fault. In the eyes of an insurance company, it is always the driver’s responsibility to keep the vehicle under control no matter the road conditions. In some cases, fault may be divided up on a percent basis between both drivers in a collision. But this doesn’t clear a driver of fault. It may only recognize that fault is shared to some degree. The buck stops with the at fault driver.
If you are injured in a car crash this winter, don’t just accept the negligent driver’s excuse that “He couldn’t do anything about it.” Or, “It just happened.” Crashes don’t just happen. Innocent drivers shouldn’t carry the burden of other drivers’ bad behaviour in the winter time or any time.
Call an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out where you stand.
Poor Winter Driving Conditions & You