California Weather Conditions and Car Accidents
Ways That Weather Conditions Cause Car Accidents
When people think of sunny Southern California, they envision clear blue skies, open roads, and endless highways – then the thought of Los Angeles might come across their mind and they could instantly remember the smog and heavy traffic. What most people do not consider is the rain. When inclement weather conditions are involved in Southern California, it seems as though drivers lose control of their vehicles. Since many drivers are not used to inclement weather conditions, it could greatly impact their driving skills. Throughout the United States, on average, there are 5,891,000 vehicle crashes per year. Approximately 21 percent of these crashes are weather-related. Nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 418,000 are wounded each year. Using information provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (DOT), the experienced team of car accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will break down how weather affects car accidents and what drivers will need to do to stay prepared under any weather conditions while out on the road.
Southern California Weather Conditions That Can Affect Driving
- Rain and/or hail can create circumstances that obstruct visibility for drivers which can result in car accidents. The majority of car accidents throughout the U.S that result from poor weather conditions occur on wet pavement (70 percent) and/or while it is raining (46 percent). Firstly, rain coming down on a car windshield while windshield wipers move back and forth across the window impedes clear visibility of the roadway in front of the driver. Secondly, wet pavement can cause cars to slip and slide and “hydroplane”, causing the tires of the vehicle to lose traction. Not to mention that when driving in large bodies of water, the vehicle will splash water onto the vehicles in other lanes and pedestrians on the sidewalk, as well. Thirdly, rain can cause streetlights to malfunction and create a ruckus for drivers who don’t know how to correctly implement right-of-way rules. These are just some of the consequences that rain can have on Southern California drivers.
- Heat, though it is not commonly considered, can be a contributing factor to car crashes, as well. This is especially true for drivers who are dehydrated on the road with the sun beating down on them for long periods of time and it’s worse for drivers who don’t have functioning air conditioning systems in their vehicle. Driving under such conditions can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If a driver passes out under these circumstances while behind the wheel, they could lose control of their vehicle and cause serious accidents.
- Wind, especially if it blows objects onto the windshield of a driver or in front of their vehicle, can cause accidents, as well. While driving throughout arid roads in California, it is possible to come across a tumbleweed that can tumble in front of the vehicle and cause damage to the vehicle if the driver hits the tumbleweed or an accident if the driver attempts to swerve out of the way of the tumbleweed.
- Ice can cause accidents in California, as well. Snow or sleet (18 percent), icy pavement (13 percent), and snowy or slushy pavements (16 percent) have substantially contributed to weather-related crashes in California, even though it doesn’t snow throughout the state. People will drive to the mountains to enjoy snow, however, their trip could become dangerous. Slippery road conditions can be risky for drivers since they could potentially lose traction from their wheels. Driving downhill on the mountains may also be difficult to do under snowy weather conditions. The driver could lose traction and not brake in time. For drivers who are going uphill, losing traction may result in the vehicle falling backwards as the driver is attempting to drive forward.
- Fog may also impede the view of drivers on the road, however, it may only account for about 3 percent of the cause of a vehicle collision throughout the country. This is especially true for drivers who are on the road late at night and/or early in the morning. Thick fog may affect a driver’s ability to see what is directly in front of them.
An experienced car accident injury lawyer can ensure that you are compensated for all of the damages you are eligible for by helping you each step of the way. The following are the available damages for injuries sustained in an accident:
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for monetary losses. They are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of the injuries that were sustained in an accident.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective, such as:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in about 5 percent of all verdicts. Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Need a Car Accident Attorney? Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a car accident, our experienced team of car accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered. This includes medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.
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