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Icy Roads: At Fault Even When Driving Speed Limit?

Cars driving on icy, snowy road
By James Norwood on March 10, 2011 5:50 AM

Last Updated: December 20, 2019

Could you be found liable for a winter car accident even while driving the speed limit? To quote our Midwestern neighbors who know something about driving in snow: "You betcha."

Wherever there are slippery roads, accidents lurk around the corner. So even if you are driving at or below the speed limit, you can still be on the hook for a car accident.

In December, a huge winter storm caused at least 12 traffic fatalities and hundreds of accidents, including jackknifed tractor-trailers that shut down interstates,  as it moved from the Midwest into the Northeast. Indeed, the winter driving season is off to a dangerous start. 

Many drivers don't realize that as road conditions change, so should their driving. What they need to know is that most states' vehicle codes have a "Basic Speed Law" in addition to a posted speed.

The "Basic Speed Law" states that motorists should not travel more than the road conditions allow.

Let's say you get in an accident where the other driver runs a red light, and you are driving less than the posted speed limit. You may be at fault if you were driving too fast for the slippery roads. You could very well end up on the hook and held responsible for going faster than road conditions allow.

If you are in an accident, you will likely be dealing with insurance companies, police and attorneys. To best protect your interests, you may want to speak with a good car accident lawyer.

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