David McLeod | Senior Solicitor

Accidents in winter weather – it’s snow joke

The recent weather is not uncommon in the winter months in Scotland. Unfortunately, snow, ice wind and rain often raises the risk of accidents for drivers and pedestrians alike.

It is often the case that drivers forget the conditions that they are driving in, and don’t adjust their driving style accordingly. At other times, it is simply a case of the weather was a major contributing factor in coming to a conclusion on how an accident came about.

Some drivers may be surprised to discover that even if they have been caught out by snow or black ice, blame can still be attached for causing an accident. It is for drivers who take the risk of driving in bad weather to adjust their driving style accordingly.

At Jackson Boyd, we deal regularly with accidents that happen in bad weather. We will consider the specific facts of your case and advise you on liability appropriately. Some defenders will put forward an argument that they cannot be liable for an accident and that it is not appropriate to attach blame to a driver who was unable to control their vehicle in adverse conditions.

However, all of the relevant circumstances require to be taken into consideration. A driver who chooses to drive in treacherous conditions has to be aware of the risks and adjust their driving accordingly. By failing to drive at an appropriate speed, or failing to take a corner safely, there is a risk that they lose control of their vehicle. This is just one of the particular scenarios that can give rise to an accident but the possibilities are endless in bad weather. If a driver opts to drive in the snow, they must also be aware that the law may well hold them responsible for causing an accident, even if [in their own opinion] the accident was unavoidable.

When driving in winter weather, there are steps that you can take to avoid accidents:

  • Put winter tyres on your car for better traction;
  • Make sure your windscreen and other windows are clear of snow and ice before driving (failure to do so could also result in criminal proceedings).
  • Keep a greater braking distance from the rear of the vehicle in front – it takes longer to stop in adverse weather and a court will not look kindly on a driver blaming the weather that has been tailgating!
  • Slow down! The quicker you are driving, the more likely you are to lose control. Again, if there is any evidence that a vehicle is travelling quicker than is safe, this may sway a judge’s decision.
  • Don’t panic. It is easy to slam on the brakes, or turn the steering wheel hard to one side if you feel like you are losing control. You are more likely to regain control if you remain calm (although this is easier said than done).

If you have been involved in an accident in wintry weather, we can help you with your case. We can also assist with pedestrians injured in winter weather on pavements or in other public places. If you have been involved in an accident as a result of poor weather conditions please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.

David McLeod

David McLeod

Personal Injury Team

“I enjoy the preparation of cases for presentation at proof, but also managing to settle cases for clients without the need to appear in court.”

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