Major winter storms will challenge Virginia and North Carolina drivers

Drivers must take extra care not to negligently cause accidents that could injure others.

The Eastern seaboard currently faces overwhelmingly formidable winter weather. During dangerous road conditions, every driver on the road has the legal duty to drive reasonably to prevent harm to others. This includes following traffic laws and adjusting driving practices so as not to negligently or recklessly cause harm to others on the roads.

When failure to drive reasonably causes a motor vehicle accident that harms another person, the negligent driver is legally responsible for money damages to compensate the victim for resulting medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and property damage. If negligent driving behavior results in death, the surviving loved ones may bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

Current conditions

At the time of this writing in early January 2018, AccuWeather reports that snow and ice will cause dangerous travel conditions "from Florida to Virginia." A so-called "bombogenesis" or "weather bomb" is forming over the Atlantic, meaning a storm that becomes explosively strong because of an unusually rapid drop in air pressure within its rotating center.

AccuWeather says that a storm in this condition is "among the most violent weather systems that affect a broad area" with intense wind conditions and the potential for extremely heavy snow or rain.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, five to 10 inches or more of snow is likely in eastern Virginia and northeast North Carolina, causing treacherous roads. Blowing snow will reduce visibility because of winds that may be "close to hurricane force."

Incoming Arctic air will likely cause snow to fall through the southern Appalachians and into the Midwest.

Safe driving practices

The Virginia Department of Transportation or VDOT has recommendations for safer winter driving:

  • Be especially careful on bridges and shaded areas.
  • Try to stay home, but if you drive, leave early and take your time.
  • Winterize your car by having all major systems checked, including brakes, tires, battery, antifreeze, thermostat, washer fluid, lights and defroster.
  • Do not drive too closely to other vehicles.
  • Avoid passing plows.
  • Do not text while driving.
  • Keep windows clear of ice, snow and fog.

Drivers should also check for local, state and federal storm and driving warnings. Should an accident occur after a driver failed to abide by official warnings, the decision to venture out could be important evidence of negligence. Other potential evidence of negligent or reckless motoring may include driving in violation of traffic laws and failing to adjust driving practices reasonably in response to winter driving conditions.

Legal guidance for victims

Anyone who is hurt in a winter accident because of the negligence of another driver or whose loved one passes away in such a collision should seek legal advice immediately from an experienced accident lawyer. The law firm will launch an investigation of the incident on behalf of the client and the earlier it begins, the fresher the evidence, including witnesses' memories.

The personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Daniel L. Crandall & Associates in Roanoke represent the victims of car accidents caused by negligent or reckless drivers throughout Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia.