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Do icy conditions excuse the defendant from crashing into me?

By Nikita Wolf, Trial Attorney with the Pendleton Law Team

As winter approaches and the snow begins to arrive to the area, some clients want to know: does the fact that there was snow or ice on the road excuse someone from hitting me?  The answer?  NO! 

Though each case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, generally speaking just because the defendant skidded on some ice and hit your car does not excuse the fact that they still crashed into you.  In Virginia, every driver – regardless of the season – is required to maintain proper control over his or her vehicle and to drive that vehicle at a speed and in a manner that is safe and reasonable under the circumstances.

Real World Example

What this means is that just because a particular road may normally have a speed limit of 45MPH does not mean that a driver should actually drive 45MPH if the weather conditions are such that driving at that speed would be reckless or dangerous, such as during an snow storm.

Keeping proper control over his or her vehicle also means that a driver must be aware of the road conditions and adjust his or her driving accordingly.  In our snow and ice example, drivers must be aware of snow, ice, and other potential dangers created by slick roads and change the way they drive their cars to help compensate for these extra dangers.  This also means that drivers should leave plenty of room between themselves and the other cars around them and take extra precautions when braking due to the icy weather conditions.  Drivers should be very careful about how they drive in bad weather so they don’t lose control of their car, such as taking a turn too sharply or changing lanes too quickly since they may skid or slide on accumulated snow or ice.

So as we move into these winter months, please be careful when driving on slick, icy roads.  And if someone else crashes into you and causes you injury, give the Pendleton Law team a call at 804-250-5050!