Inclement weather and poor visibility are some of the most common and dangerous hazards drivers encounter on the road in Nova Scotia. Extreme weather conditions pose risks to every driver, compromising traction, decreasing vision, reducing the ability to stop and steer, and seriously increasing the chance of a collision.
The most dangerous hazards on Nova Scotia roads during inclement weather, however, are other drivers who fail to take the necessary precautions in response to slippery roads and low visibility.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone who drove recklessly under poor weather conditions, the dedicated car accident lawyers at Valent Legal want to help you pursue the full compensation you need for your injuries and other losses. We are highly skilled at navigating Nova Scotia’s complex insurance regulations. We’ll explore every avenue of recovery for you, including taking your case to court, if necessary.
We offer free consultations to review the circumstances of your accident and discuss your legal rights and options. You have limited time to take legal action following an accident. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today and get started on the path to recovery. We’ll listen to your story and provide personalized service throughout your case. In short, we’ll always be there when you need us.
Contact our attentive team now to learn more.
Who Is at Fault for a Car Accident Caused by Bad Weather in Nova Scotia?
Nova Scotia uses a “no-fault” system for car insurance claims, which means that all licensed drivers must carry liability insurance policies. If a Nova Scotia driver is involved in an accident that results in injury or property damage, they are required to file a claim with their own insurance provider first, regardless of who was at fault for the wreck.
However, even though you can turn to your own insurance policy for coverage, liability could still play an important role in your insurance claim. For example, you may be able to additionally tap the at-fault party’s third-party liability insurance for compensation for your injuries and other losses. Fault will be crucial if you need to sue the at-fault driver in order to secure the recovery you deserve.
At Valent Legal, we’re ready to work meticulously to gather the evidence needed to show that the other driver was partially or fully liable for your losses.
When car accidents occur in inclement weather or low-visibility conditions, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault, at first, since drivers may have trouble seeing more than a few metres beyond their car. In all but the most extreme cases, though, the driver or drivers who lose control of their vehicles are most likely to be held responsible because the law requires motorists to maintain full control of their vehicles in all conditions.
Some of the parties that are most commonly held liable in bad weather car accidents in Nova Scotia include:
- Distracted drivers who are too busy texting, using cellphones, chatting with passengers, eating, or drinking to drive safely
- Fatigued drivers who are too mentally or physically drowsy to react in time to dangerous or low-visibility road conditions
- Intoxicated drivers who are operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol and drive sluggishly, aggressively, or erratically as a result
- Aggressive drivers who speed, fail to signal turns, weave between lanes, and fail to yield the right-of-way, making dangerous roads even less safe
- Inexperienced drivers who make driving errors, such as following too closely, driving too fast, and taking turns too sharply for conditions
- Drivers of poorly maintained vehicles who are negligent in failing to repair bald tires, failing brakes, non-functioning lights, or worn windshield wipers and are more likely to lose control during bad weather conditions as a result.
What Types of Weather Conditions Cause the Worst Accidents in Nova Scotia?
Car accidents can happen in any conditions, but there are certain types of weather that present unique and potent hazards. Reports of traffic collisions and fatalities tend to spike during the fall and winter months in Nova Scotia, largely due to the increased presence of snowy, icy, and windy conditions.
These conditions present drivers with significant challenges, such as decreased visibility, reduced traction, and difficulties with steering – not to mention the increased time and distance needed to slow or stop. Inclement weather requires each driver to take every precaution available to keep themselves and everyone around them safe on the road.
At Valent Legal, the worst inclement weather car accidents we handle tend to be caused by the following types of conditions:
- Fog and mist – When vehicles are enveloped in thick fog or mist, it can be nearly impossible to see the road or lights on other cars, making it that much more important to drive slowly and cautiously.
- Rain and flooding – When roads become slick or flooded with rain, cars sometimes hydroplane and lose control. Pools of water may also accumulate and conceal road debris that could damage tires or cause loss of control, especially if drivers fail to use extreme caution.
- Hail and sleet – Icy hail or sleet can compromise visibility and may even damage windshields or windshield wipers, making accidents far more likely.
- Snow and ice – It’s incredibly difficult to drive through thick snowfall, which reduces visibility. Snow and ice on the ground, especially black ice, also compromise traction and increase the risk of drivers losing control. It’s crucial that drivers use snow tires and chains, when needed, and follow local guidelines.
- High winds – Extremely forceful gales or gusts of wind reduce steering control, especially for drivers of motorcycles, high-sided vehicles, or trailers.
- Dark, dusky, or stormy – Many accidents occur at night, at dusk when the sky is darkening, or during heavy storms with dark clouds. These conditions all decrease visibility and make it harder for drivers to react quickly.
- Smoke and dust – Forest fires sometimes happen suddenly in dry weather conditions. The resulting clouds of smoke, dust, or ash may make it hard to see other vehicles, necessitating slow, careful driving.
Inclement Weather Accident Claims in Nova Scotia
What should you expect if you were involved in a bad weather accident in Nova Scotia and need to file a claim? If inclement weather or poor visibility played a part in the accident, will the insurance companies still assign fault in your accident?
The short answer is yes. According to the Automobile Insurance Fault Determination Regulations of Nova Scotia’s Insurance Act, drivers who are involved in car accidents can’t cite “weather conditions, road conditions, or visibility” as an excuse. When insurance adjusters investigate an accident, they must determine who was at fault without any reference to external factors, such as inclement weather.
This means that if your Nova Scotia car accident claim is disputed or denied, you will need to prove that you were driving safely and observing all relevant traffic laws while the other driver acted negligently.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you identify and preserve the following kinds of evidence to support your claim:
- Statements from you and the other driver about the events that led up to the bad weather accident
- Statements from passengers, bystanders, or other eyewitnesses who saw the collision occur
- Police accident reports, which may show toxicology test results, witness statements, and officially accepted reasons for the crash
- Photographs of the accident scene, which may show vehicle damage, skid marks, or hazardous road conditions
- Video footage of the crash from nearby traffic or security cameras
- Photographs of any visible injuries you or your passengers sustained
- Medical records, X-rays, or other healthcare reports that demonstrate the extent of any injuries you suffered
- Medical and repair bills to show the costs you incurred as a result of the wreck
- Pay stubs to demonstrate your financial losses if you missed time at work
- Statements from expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction specialists
Safe Driving Tips for Bad Weather
Even experienced and conscientious drivers often have trouble navigating Nova Scotia’s roads in stormy, windy, foggy, snowy, or icy weather. In many cases, the best way to stay safe during hazardous conditions is to just stay put and wait for the weather to improve. If a trip can wait, it’s always better to stay home than risk your life navigating extreme environmental conditions.
However, some trips can’t wait. If you do need to be on the road during inclement weather, it’s important to stay alert and plan ahead. Driving through stormy or low-visibility weather is stressful and more likely to take a long time.
By thinking ahead and implementing the following safe driving tips, you’ll be ready for almost anything the weather throws your way and much less likely to be involved in a bad weather accident:
- Reduce your speed to give yourself more time to react to obstacles.
- Avoid using cruise control, which can lure you into a false sense of security and make it harder to react to emergency situations in time.
- Steer more gently, especially if you feel the vehicle skidding in wet, slick, or icy conditions.
- Avoid changing lanes, which can make you more likely to lose control and harder for other drivers to keep track of you.
- Leave more distance to stop since other drivers may need to brake or slow suddenly to avoid obstacles you can’t see.
- Brake more slowly to avoid skidding or sliding into dangerous rear-end crashes.
- Avoid loud music or other noisy distractions, especially in limited-visibility situations when you may need to listen for changes in traffic.
- Make sure your windshield and windows are clear, and always ensure you can see a safe distance in front of you while driving.
- Make sure your lights, windshield wipers, and defroster are in good working order.
- Use snow tires, tire chains, or studded tires in snowy or icy conditions.
- Avoid passing snowplows that are actively clearing roads ahead.
- Ask your passengers for help spotting potential hazards, especially in low-visibility areas or conditions.
- Stay extra vigilant of other drivers and practice defensive driving.
- Pull over and turn on your emergency flashers if you are uncomfortable with continuing to drive in bad conditions.
- If you know conditions may be bad, charge your cell phone and make sure your fuel tank is full before you depart, just in case you are delayed or stranded.
Contact Us If You’ve Been Hurt in a Nova Scotia Car Accident
The aftermath of a car accident can feel overwhelming, but with an experienced and compassionate lawyer on your side, it doesn’t have to be.
Here at Valent Legal, we pride ourselves on our accessible, down-to-earth approach to client service. Our team is eager to help you during this difficult time. Our initial consultations are always confidential and free. Contact us today to learn more.