Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on November 27th, 2018,
by Zane Cagle

Winter Isn’t Coming…… It Is Here

Weather Related Crashes Result in Fatalities on Missouri Roads

Posted on November 27th, 2018 by Zane Cagle

Snow and Ice Season is Here

After a warm and rather short autumn, we were launched into winter over the weekend. If you are north of Interstate 70 this weekend, then you got a healthy dose of winter weather. Sunday, as many northern Missourians woke up to blizzard-like conditions, those in St. Louis experienced some relative balmy conditions and a tornado warning around 5 p.m. What gives?  So I’m not a scientist and we won’t argue climate change here, but we must prepare for winter weather driving.

December in Missouri Usually Brings Snow

Weather Missouri can fluctuate, quickly– one day it may be 60 degrees and then the next day, it’s zero degrees and snowing.  We are always guaranteed to have snow and ice in December, January and February. Seemingly, the first snow or ice of the season causes a flurry of motor vehicle crashes. Whether it is because we haven’t adapted our driving or due to inattentiveness, there are just more crashes.   In all of the below tips, it should be understood that if you do not absolutely have to drive in inclement weather, then do not!

Tips for Driving in the Snow:

  • Drive slowing– everything takes longer on snow or ice-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, and turning are all easier on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver
  • Increase your following distance. The normal 3-4 seconds that you count on dry pavement while following to increase to 8 to 10 seconds
  • Know your brakes- Know whether you have anti-lock brakes or not.
  • Don’t stop on a hill if you can avoid it.
  • Stay home. If you do not absolutely HAVE to Drive, then don’t. Even if you drive really well in the snow and ice, there are many others who simply cannot.

Additional Tips

  • Never warm up your vehicle in an enclosed area such as a garage (open your garage a little to let the air circulate)
  • Avoid driving when you are fatigued
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice or snowy roads)
  • Always use your seatbelt.
  • Don’t drink and drive

Over 1,000 flights were cancelled out of the Midwest yesterday (Sunday), typically the busiest travel day in the U.S. and the Missouri Highway Patrol listed 587 crashes with 108 injuries and nine fatalities. There were 86 DWI arrests and 67 drug arrests.. These serious injury and fatal crashes were just the crashes listed on the MSHP records and do not include many county and city policing agencies. Like many Thanksgiving holiday traffic weekends, there were many crashes and the weather on Sunday contributed to  many crashes.

Are Weather-Related Crashes Always Considered No-Fault Due to Weather?

No.  Many people assume that drivers are not liable on snow-covered or ice-covered roadways, but this would be an incorrect assumption. They question remains after a crash, “Was the driver operating the vehicle with a “reasonable degree of care”?’.  Actually the standard is whether or not a driver exercised the same care as that of a “reasonable person”. Thus, if someone was traveling too fast for weather conditions which then contributed to a head-on collision that injured or killed people, then the condition of the roadway would be analyzed in regard to the driver’s use of “reasonable care”.  Crashes can sometimes have several contributing factors.  When one of the causes of a collisions is a driver not using the appropriate standard of care, then they may be held liable.  If no one is hurt, then the only damage is the property damage. However, if someone is injured or worse, then the at-fault driver may be held liable for damages.

If You Are Injured in a Motor Vehicle Collision

No matter the weather, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash, you absolutely should contact an expert car crash attorney first. As much as I wish you could rely on an insurance adjuster to look out for your best interest, my experience is that You are Not their Number One Priority. Even if it is your insurance company………you should seek expert legal advice before even speaking with any adjusters.

We are available seven days a week, toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally 314.391.5220