If you live in the Kansas City area, you’ve probably noticed a lot of black ice lately. On January 8, 2018, there were numerous accidents reported during the early morning hours, mostly due to newly accumulated ice. With winter in full swing, it’s a good time to start thinking about safe winter driving habits, as well as what to do in the event of an accident. Some people think that if ice or snow causes a collision, then no one is truly to blame. This is not always the case.
Many times, the accident is caused by a careless driver who was overconfident or failed to keep proper distance. If you’re injured by one of these drivers, you can bet the insurance company will try to blame the weather. Here are just a few things you should know about black ice accidents, in particular.
A Lot of People Are Injured by Black Ice Each Year
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), more than 1,300 people die in winter weather-related accidents each year, and 116,800 are seriously injured. Of course, this includes all types of winter weather, such as slush, sleet, ice, snow, and so forth. But black ice plays a particularly significant role in the coldest parts of winter. One site, www.icyroadsafety.com, reports that more Missourians are killed due to icy roads than tornadoes each year. In fact, the same report suggests that Missouri and Nebraska tie for second place in terms of the most ice-related fatalities on the road.
Black Ice Is Dangerous – Drivers Should Use More Caution
Insurance companies love to argue that weather made a crash unavoidable. But when you consider this argument, you start to see that it usually doesn’t really hold true. Just think about a typical black ice accident, where one driver slides on ice and hits another driver from behind. Yes, it’s true that once the car started to slide, there may have been nothing that driver could do to avoid hitting the other car. However, if road conditions are wet and the temperature is freezing, then a higher level of caution should be used. In other words, bad weather means you use more caution; it does not mean you get a free pass for negligence.
4WD Can Give False Confidence
It’s shocking to watch four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles speeding down an icy interstate in wet, slick, cold conditions. Interestingly, although a 4WD vehicle can help you get out of a tight spot or get unstuck from snow or mud, it doesn’t really matter how many tires you have if they’re all sliding. Extreme Tech suggests that electronic stability control (ESC), traction control, and torque vectoring, each make a bigger difference than the existence of 4WD or even all-wheel drive (AWD). That said, tires are also very important. You can have a wonderful AWD vehicle, but if the tires have no traction, you will not be able to stop.
Common Sense Is the Best Safety Feature
When there is black ice on the roads, your best bet is to stay home. Obviously, there are times you must drive despite dangerous conditions, but it should be kept to an absolute minimum. Surprisingly, even in the worst of conditions, there are drivers who are impaired or distracted. Weather merely adds a layer of risk.
Injured in a Black Ice Accident
If you are injured by another driver during black ice conditions, don’t let the insurance company tell you no one was at fault. Chances are the other driver was distracted, following you too closely for conditions, or traveling too fast. He or she may have faulty brakes or bald tires. Many drivers become over-confident, leading to tragic crashes. Call the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. There’s no fee unless we recover, so you have nothing to lose.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.