In Nebraska, every driver is charged with driving at a speed that is safe for the conditions. This is especially true in cases of winter weather driving. If a driver loses control of their vehicle and causes a collision with your vehicle because they were sliding on an ice covered road, the weather and road condition is NOT available to them as a defense.
It is negligence as a matter of law if one operates a motor vehicle on a public street or highway and, on account of the manner of operation, is unable to stop such operator's vehicle or turn that vehicle aside without colliding with an object or obstruction on the street or highway within the operator's range of vision. Prime Inc. v. Younglove Constr. Co., 227 Neb. 423, 418 N.W.2d 539 (1988).
The range of vision rule is applicable, notwithstanding that a motorist's vision is impaired by atmospheric or weather conditions, such as falling or blowing snow, rain, mist, or fog. Id. Such factors are held to be conditions and not intervening causes, and require drivers to exercise a degree of care commensurate with the attendant circumstances. Tapp v. Blackmore Ranch, 254 Neb. 40, 575 N.W.2d 341 (1998).
Why is bad weather not an excuse for causing a car accident? Because a reasonable person must know that if it is snowing and the roads are icy, they should take extra care when driving. Drivers should travel at a slower speed with a greater following distance. A reasonable person should know that if their vehicle is not equipped to safely drive in icy conditions or if they don’t have the kind of driving experience necessary to navigate winter conditions, they should not be driving.
According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, each year over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in car crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement.
If you have been injured in an accident that took place on an icy road or under snowy conditions, you have legal rights and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle. Contact our car accident attorneys at Carlson & Burnett to schedule a free accident evaluation (402) 810-8611 or contact us online. Our car accident attorneys can help.