Are icy Oklahoma roads a car accident liability excuse?

Oklahoma may not get as much snow and ice as other states across the nation, but sometimes this means that roads could be even more dangerous when bad weather does hit. Not only are there the hazardous conditions to deal with, but drivers may also be less familiar with driving under these conditions, and the state may have fewer resources to quickly remove the hazard.

Guess what type of weather is predicted to be on the horizon? According to Steve Allen, the Turner Turnpike maintenance superintendent, the Turnpike Authority has some new plows to tackle the snow that does make its way onto the Oklahoma road this season.

These new plows will help clear a wider path of snow in a single pass. In fact, the “regular trucks plow about 11 feet at a time,” said Allen. These new ones plow 18, and a “tow plow, which is next to it, will plow 26 feet at a time.”

Even though there will be better plows on the roads, they can’t cover every inch at once. Troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed the common assumption that more accidents occur when the weather is bad. But are icy road conditions an excuse for liability after a car accident?

The truth is that it is harder to drive on an icy road than it is to drive on a clear road free of any hazards. Of course, a reasonable person would likely understand this. Reasonable drivers would slow down, avoid slamming on their breaks and leave a little more distance between their car and the car in front of them.

This talk about what a “reasonable person” might do wasn’t chosen at random. It is the standard used in personal injury cases after a car accident, and “it was icy” isn’t a complete defense.

Source: KFOR-TV, “UPDATE: Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has new road-clearing weapon ready for predicted winter storms,” A. Edwards and Bree Steffen, Dec. 4, 2013

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