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Driver Negligence in Vancouver’s Poor Weather Conditions

Vancouver was hit with extreme winter weather in December 2016 that created chaos on the road. Accident lawyers in Vancouver expect a significant spike in personal injury claims following December’s treacherous conditions. Drivers in Vancouver have experience with rain and wet roads, but when the winter weather rolled in, drivers were forced to contend with ice, slush, and snow accumulation on the roads as well as reduced visibility due to falling and blowing snow.

The defence of inevitable accident is rarely accepted in winter driving conditions and will typically not exonerate a driver. This is usually the case, for example, when a defendant driver tries to blame black ice as the reason for the accident. The likely reason is that the defendant was travelling too fast for road conditions and therefore negligent. When it's wintertime a driver should reasonably expect the possibility of ice on the road.

Road Accident Lawyers Discuss How Weather Conditions Can Play a Role in Negligence Claims

Poor weather conditions may play a role in a motor vehicle accident, but that does not necessarily mean an accident victim is prevented from recovering compensation for injuries caused by that accident. In fact, in poor weather there may be a need for extra caution and a driver may be negligent for failing to exercise the extra caution required by the circumstances. In all cases, reasonableness is the guiding principle. When an accident victim claims that another driver’s negligence was the cause of an accident, the question is whether the driver operated their vehicle as a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. 


The road accident lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP exclusively represent accident victims and will investigate the circumstances of an accident to uncover evidence of negligence. Some common examples of driver negligence in poor weather conditions include:

  • Following too closely. In the example given above (a driver claiming that his or her vehicle skidded into another vehicle because of black ice), it may be the case that the driver was negligent for following too closely than was reasonable in light of the road and weather conditions. 
  • Driving too quickly given the condition of the road. Accident lawyers know that when it comes to negligence claims, the posted speed limit is intended for ideal driving conditions. In the winter when there may be high winds, blowing snow, reduced visibility, ice, slush, or compact snow in the road, it may be negligent for a driver to travel at the speed limit. 
  • Turning too quickly. Related to the previous point, drivers often do not adjust their vehicle’s speed to account for the weather when making manoeuvres such as turning or passing. Vehicles (and their drivers) cannot perform optimally in poor weather. A quick turn or lane change that would be safe in good weather conditions may be dangerous – and potentially negligent – in poor weather. 
  • Failing to ensure visibility. Before operating a vehicle, a driver must ensure that snow, ice, and fog are cleared from all windows. While driving, a driver must use the vehicle’s windshield wipers, window defrosters, and headlights as required by the weather and lighting conditions. To avoid liability in negligence for an accident, a driver must ensure that he or she can be seen and that he or she can see other users of the road. Visibility may be suddenly reduced in poor weather and drivers must be prepared for quickly changing and deteriorating driving conditions. 
  • Improper vehicle maintenance. An accident may be caused by a driver’s negligence in maintaining their vehicle. For example, driving in poor weather with worn tires, improperly maintained windshield wipers, or substandard brakes may lead to a finding of negligence. It may also be negligent for a driver to travel in certain conditions without snow tires or tire chains.

Accident Lawyers in Vancouver

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in poor weather conditions, contact an experienced road accident lawyer at Bronson Jones & Company LLP immediately to discuss your claim and how to establish negligence against the other driver. Visit one of our 13 convenient locations for your free consultation.

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