What Weather Conditions Affect Traffic Safety in New York?

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) specifies seven types of road and weather conditions that may cause dangerous situations for car drivers in NYC. These include:

  • Fog that reduces visibility
  • Wind blowing at high speeds can impair the driver’s ability to keep their car under control
  • Snow, rain, or sleet may make it difficult for drivers to have sufficient traction besides impairing visibility
  • Temperature of the air and humidity that can affect the accumulation of ice and snow
  • Defective or damaged pavements or potholes on the road that make it difficult for drivers to control their car
  • Pooled water on the road due to poor road design, or improper drainage facilities can cause cars to hydroplane

How do Poor Road Conditions Cause Car Accidents in NYC?

Data from the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles shows that the following types of defective road conditions can lead to car crashes:

  • Obstruction in the view drivers have of the road ahead
  • Improper road or lane markings
  • Defective design and building of shoulders
  • Debris or other obstructions on the road
  • Non-functional traffic control devices
  • Defective pavements

Who is Responsible for NYC Bad Weather Accidents?

Car drivers obviously cannot control the weather; however, they are expected to know how to adapt their driving to match the requirements of bad weather. A motorist who does not drive with due caution in poor weather may be found negligent if their actions or failure to act in a particular way were responsible for a car crash. 

For example, when snowfall occurs and the roads are covered with snow or ice, it is expected that drivers will drive their cars slowly because moving at high speeds can make it extremely difficult to control the vehicle. If a driver drives even at the posted speed limit, they may still be found negligent if the weather conditions necessitated a lower speed. 

In certain accident cases, an investigation may throw up evidence that there was a problem with the design or the construction of the road itself that increased the risk of an accident. Occasionally, a failure to maintain the road in good condition, or the lack of necessary road repairs could also be the cause of an NYC car accident. 

In such cases, a seasoned personal injury lawyer can help the injured victim hold the government authority in charge of the road’s design, construction, and maintenance or repair responsible for the accident.

What Types of Road Defects May Cause a Bad Weather Accident in New York?

Government agencies must design and construct roadways to be safe for public use. Further, they must carry out regular inspection and maintenance and repair work as necessary to ensure the roadways are in a condition fit for use. If these agencies fail in these duties, it could result in a nasty road accident especially in bad weather. 

Some of the most common types of road flaws that may contribute to a bad weather car crash in New York City include:

  • Flaws in the design of the road when shoulder drop-offs are too steep, or curves in the road are too sharp, or if the grading is inappropriate or if lanes are kept too narrow.
  • Defects in the road surface that lead to accumulation of water that does not get drained away or the presence of potholes on the road, or the pileup of debris or gravel on the roadway.
  • Lack of adequate warning signs that can caution a motorist about the road situations.
  • Insufficient or malfunctioning lighting on the roads.

What Precautions Are Necessary to Prevent a Bad Weather Accident?

snowy road

Some of the precautions a driver is expected to take when driving in poor weather include the following:

  • Driving well below the posted speed limit
  • Making turns very slowly without enough indication to other motorists around them
  • Using their hazard lights judiciously
  • Pulling to a stop if poor weather drastically affects visibility
  • Maintaining their vehicle in a condition safe to drive even in bad weather

Who is Liable for a Weather-Related Accident in New York City?

Bad weather may have contributed to your car accident, but you cannot hold it responsible for the damage you suffered. When the weather conditions are especially bad, drivers are expected to either avoid driving or to take utmost care while driving to ensure they stay safe. All persons who drive owe a duty of care to other motorists and pedestrians on the road. But this responsibility is far greater when drivers take to the road during bad weather.

The condition of the road, if found to be far from optimum, may be considered as a contributing factor to a bad weather car accident in New York. However, the onus for damage that results from such a crash generally rests on the driver who is shown to have lost control over their vehicle.

The Concept of Negligence in Weather-Related Car Crashes in New York

When determining liability for a car crash that occurred in bad weather, the factor that is most important is establishing negligence of the driver. A driver who fails to drive cautiously in poor weather is likely to be considered as negligent in their action. Here are some of the actions of a driver that may qualify as negligence:

  • Driving in poor weather despite being aware that it is unsafe to drive.
  • Driving at speeds that do not take the weather and road conditions into consideration.
  • Following too closely the vehicle in front without leaving enough space in between.
  • Taking turns at a high speed when driving through rain or snow on slippery roads.
  • Driving a vehicle that is not well-maintained and has problems such as weak brakes, worn-out tires, malfunctioning windshield wipers or lights that do not work as expected. 
  • Failing to switch on the vehicle’s headlights despite poor visibility due to the bad weather.

What Precautions Must You Take To Avoid a New York Bad Weather Accident?

The best way to avoid a car accident due to bad weather is to put off driving when the weather gets really bad. However, if there is some urgent task you absolutely need to complete, and this involves driving in poor weather, the only alternative you have is to take the following precautions so that you reduce the risk of an accident. 

  • Check the windshield wipers and make sure they work
  • Ensure the tires are sufficiently inflated
  • Install snow tires if you have to frequently drive through snow
  • Scrape off any ice that has formed on the windshield before you begin to drive
  • Check that the headlights are functioning adequately; keep their covers clean so that they throw a strong beam of light to illuminate the road clearly
  • Remove any snow or ice that may have accumulated on the roof of the car

Contact an Expert New York Bad Weather Accident Lawyer Today

Anyone injured in a car crash in New York can claim compensation for the damage they sustained. The other driver may claim that the poor weather was responsible for their inability to see clearly but an experienced car accident attorney can help you prove that they were negligent in their actions. When you file a personal injury lawsuit against the party at fault for your accident, you can recover the following damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Prescription medicines
  • Future expenses for medical care or rehabilitation
  • Loss of income
  • Reduction in earning capacity
  • Assisted help for housekeeping and childcare
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of life enjoyment

Persons who are injured in a bad weather accident often tend to assume that their crash was a result of the weather condition and therefore, no one can be held responsible for their injuries. However, with a seasoned lawyer on your side, you can certainly prove that another driver’s negligence was the cause of your suffering. 

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience in helping bad weather accident victims recover the compensation that is their rightful due. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries in an accident that occurred during poor weather, get in touch with us at 1-800-660-2264 or

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