Kentucky drivers have duty to drive safely in severe weather

Kentucky drivers must drive reasonably and responsibly to prevent accidents in stormy weather.

This winter has brought severe weather to most of the country and Kentucky has been no exception. As of this writing in late February 2015, Louisville just experienced a storm that brought nine inches of snow, increased accident rates and closed schools. Forecasts for this week include snow and dangerous wind chills as well as the danger of flooding in other parts of the state.

Not surprisingly, WDRB cites Louisville Chief of Public Services Doug Hamilton as saying that that on February 16, the rate of injury accidents was 50 percent above normal.

Naturally, road conditions become difficult in such weather extremes. When temperatures drop dangerously low, chemicals applied to roads are not as effective in lessening ice slipperiness. Added to the mix is the possibility of black ice that is difficult to see, icy spots from melting and refreezing, and possible fog, reports The Courier-Journal.

State officials warn the public to adjust their driving habits to the conditions, and to even consider staying off the roads if driving slow is not an option, according to WDRB.com. During the mid-February snowstorm, the governor declared a state of emergency statewide, during which nonessential road travel was banned.

The Kentucky State Police on its website shares winter safe driving tips for Kentuckians, some of which include:

  • Check weather forecasts and road reports.
  • Stay home if you can.
  • Winterize your car, including keeping your windshield fluid full with a mixture for cold temperatures and driving with newer, full tires.

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety adds:

  • Do not drive until lights, windows and mirrors have been cleared.
  • Give yourself extra time and slow down for the conditions.
  • Do not use cruise control in wet, snowy or icy conditions.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps that may be icier.
  • Do not tailgate; allow extra cushion between your car and the vehicle you are following. To stop in snow can take "up to four times your normal stopping distance."
  • Use your low headlight beams for better visibility.
  • Stay far behind plows and do not attempt to pass them.

Kentucky drivers understand that their experience with extreme winter weather is not as extensive as that of drivers in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, a driver in Kentucky winter weather is still held to the legal standard of driving reasonably under the circumstances to keep others safe. Driving negligently or recklessly by not taking the conditions into account can cause a motor vehicle accident for which the at-fault driver would be liable for resulting damages for injury, lost wages, property damage and even loss of life.

If you are the victim of a crash caused by a negligent or reckless driver on Kentucky's wintry roads, contact an experienced local car accident attorney right away to help protect your legal rights and provide advice about next steps. For example, your personal injury lawyer will launch an investigation into the accident on your behalf, including interviewing witnesses while memories are still fresh.

In addition, legal counsel will communicate with involved insurance companies for you and negotiate for a fair settlement that compensates you for your losses. If necessary, your attorney will advise you about the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Kentucky state court.

In Louisville, T.J. Smith Attorney at Law fights hard for the legal rights of Kentucky car accident victims.

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