‘Icezilla‘ is the bleakly humorous name given to dangerous winter road conditions that recently affected Maryland and other states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
The ice hazard on the roads started up the Sunday morning before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, with the Baltimore Sun reporting that in Harford County alone, there were 175 vehicular accidents:
Local emergency responders said the county was “paralyzed” by ice, reporting more accidents than available resources and warning responders were having difficulty reaching some victims.
The freezing rain and ice-coated road surfaces apparently caught people off-guard, as the situation came about with relative suddenness. And similar situations might occur again this winter.
The hazardous qualities of ice
The obvious (and primary) way in which ice poses a risk on the road is its slipperiness, increasing the risk that drivers will lose control of their vehicles. But there are other qualities that make ice dangerous.
The ice might not be visible – a slick patch of black ice could look remarkably like ordinary wet road after rainy weather; and again, it might only occur in patches, such that most of the road surfaces are safe to drive on. Drivers, especially if they aren’t forewarned, might not anticipate encountering ice.
The unexpectedness is another dangerous quality of ice. For example, drivers might go for miles without encountering any ice on the roads, which lulls them into a false sense of security. They could then hit a patch suddenly.
If you suffer an accident due to icy road conditions, are you at fault? Drivers abiding by traffic laws and behaving cautiously might still run afoul of a patch of ice. Granted, certain driving behaviors such as speeding can increase the chances of losing control of the vehicle and resulting in a more serious collision; during icy conditions, it’s expected that anyone venturing on to the road should drive more slowly than usual. But sometimes drivers, however responsible, still get blindsided.
The question of what happened and who is at fault is one that you should discuss with a Maryland personal injury lawyer. The aftermath of a crash could leave you with steep costs for medical treatment and vehicle repair. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your options for compensation and to receive assistance with insurance companies and, in some cases, a civil suit.
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