All around the Atlanta metro area earlier this week, there were many incidents that are related to the rainy and windy conditions. A DeKalb County police officer was involved in a crash that shut down the westbound lanes of I-20 for a short time and trees were reported to be down around the area including metro roadways. In my practice as an Atlanta car accident lawyer, I have represented victims injured in motor vehicle crashes in which weather conditions played a role.
The heavy rains and high winds brought havoc and tragedy to other areas. In Rockdale County, it was reported that a motorist lost his life when a tree fell onto his pickup truck. He was driving on I-20 when the tragic accident occurred. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the downed tree that fell on the truck is thought to be the reason for a chain reaction accident which followed.
Georgia laws require that we alter our driving depending on conditions, and commercial truck drivers are mandated to alter their driving when conditions change. The Official Georgia Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-180 sets out the basic rules of the road including that: “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. Consistently with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a reasonable and prudent speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching and traversing a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.” (Emphasis added.)
When the weather is creating difficult road conditions we all need to slow down. Many drivers ignore these conditions and do not take into account that these conditions present unusual circumstances that we cannot predict such as downed trees and potential for hydroplaning.
The American Safety Council notes that hydroplaning occurs when a car or truck tire skids or slides on a wet roadway surface. When the tire is takes on more water than it can scatter through its tread, the water ends up separating the tire from the surface so that traction is lost. This in turn can result in a loss of control of the vehicle. When the road surface is wet, even in a lighter rain, drivers must be aware that hydroplaning can result. This situation becomes even more difficult when roadway oil mixes with the wet surface at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour. When we slow down in these conditions, our vehicle’s tires can more easily disperse water.
Some of the best ways to avoid hydroplaning are to ensure that your vehicle tires are properly inflated. It is also very important to rotate and replace tires when that is needed. It is also helpful to drive in a lower gear, avoid heavy braking and sharp turns.
If you have been injured in car or truck accident or have a loved one who has been in such an accident, you need both medical and legal support. Please contact me for a free consultation about your rights. The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C. is dedicated to helping accident victims and their families.