Driving too Fast for Road Conditions

by Christopher Hoffmann on Jan. 13, 2015

Accident & Injury Car Accident Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: Drivers who do not slow down in adverse weather conditions are a danger to themselves and to others on the road.

When you are driving within the posted speed limit, you may think that you are safe from getting a ticket. However, the speed limit changes with changes in weather conditions and you may still be penalized for 'driving too fast for conditions'. This means that you are driving at a speed which is considered unsafe with regards to prevailing conditions, causing a hazard for yourself and other motorists on the road. The 'driving too fast for conditions' clause is applicable when the roads are affected by conditions that make the posted speed limit unsafe. Some of these conditions are wet roads during and after rain, snow build-up, reduced visibility caused by mist and fog, rough and uneven roads caused by loose gravel, sharp curves, heavy traffic areas, and road work zones.

Losing Control of Your Car

When you are driving at a higher speed in the above-mentioned road conditions, you may find it difficult to stop the car when the need arises. You may lose control of your car and hit the vehicle ahead of yours. It is suggested to slow down in adverse weather conditions and keep an adequate distance between your car and the car ahead, giving you ample space to stop in case the car in front of you brakes suddenly.

A Danger to Other Motorists

Drivers who ignore these safety hazards are a danger to themselves and other motorists on the road. Data collected over the years by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) has revealed that nearly 25 percent of all large truck accidents across the United States are caused by driving too fast for conditions. Data from Pennsylvania shows that over 8,000 motorists died due to fatal accidents caused by driving too fast for conditions. In Maine, nearly 40 percent of all accidents during winter months are cuased by drivers who drive too fast.

How Fast Is too Fast?

A safe driving speed varies for different types of vehicles, the road pattern, and the conditions involved. Transport departments across the United States suggest to drive at a speed at which you are able to maintain control and stop your vehicle in the event an incident occurs suddenly on the road ahead. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has provided the following regulations for trucks and large carriers - for wet roads, reduce speed by a third, and for snow-packed roads, reduce speed by half.

Safety Precautions

The following are precautions from our St. Louis car accident attorney that every motorist should take to avoid accidents in adverse conditions.

  • During rain, water mixes with oil on the road, making it more slippery.
  • During cold weather, the bridges freeze first; be more careful while driving on overpasses and bridges.
  • Reduce your speed at night as darkness makes it difficult to notice a situation happening and you may not have time to react.
  • Reduced visibility during fog and mist is hazardous; use your flashers to indicate your position.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a driver who was driving too fast for the conditions, consult with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 to understand your legal rights.


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