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Car accidents - road conditions

While drivers have some control over driving recklessly, while impaired and while distracted there is little they can do about the state of the road.

Nobody has to exceed the speed limit, you have a choice not to drive while drunk or tired and it is possible to refrain from eating or using your mobile phone while behind the wheel. But, slipping on black ice or a fuel spillage, losing control and causing a car accident are, more often than not, beyond the driver's control. Read an overview of car accidents.

Weather conditions

car accident in icy conditions

Weather is most certainly out of our control and come rain or shine the weather contributes to a fair few car accidents. Winter is undoubtedly the most dangerous time of year to drive with more car crashes being caused during the month of January in the UK than any other month. Read more about car accident incidence rates.

As well as snow and ice there are cold, gusty winds and bad lighting conditions to contend with. Poor lighting can make it difficult to see the road ahead and can even promote driver fatigue. Read more about car accident causes and driver impairment.

However, black ice is probably the biggest killer. Although local councils see to the gritting of the roads before the onslaught of rush hour in both the mornings and evenings, there are occasions when roads either do not get adequately covered or are missed altogether. This has lead to numerous car accident compensation claims in the past.

Black ice, as the name implies, is invisible when on the road surface, meaning that there is little chance of a driver spotting the hazard before his car slides out of his control. One example of a fatal accident is the driver who skidded on black ice and ploughed into a group of 12 cyclists in January 2006. The cyclists, from Rhyl Cycling Club were on a training ride when the man lost control of his car. Four of the cyclists were killed.

Fog is another highly risky weather condition as when driving visibility is severely restricted. It is advisable to drive very slowly with fog lights on and keep well back from the car in front as it is difficult to judge distances when foggy.

Torrential rain and any resulting flooding can also be major road safety risks. When driving on slippery, wet roads it is easy to lose control of your car and cause a car accident. It is also just as easy for water to flood your car's engine and leave you stranded in the middle of flooded roads waiting for the friendly roadside recovery man.

However, the summer sun can be just as dangerous. On occasion the sun is so bright that it can temporarily blind drivers, causing them to crash. Similarly, the summer months which are infamous for high pollen counts can cause drivers to sneeze while behind the wheel, again an immense road safety hazard.

It is simply best to avoid driving altogether in extreme weather conditions and put off your trip until another day. If driving is absolutely necessary it is worth listening out to traffic and news reports on local radio so that you can find the safest route to take.

Road surface and obstacles

When the wind gets up there is more chance of falling trees, branches and rubble on the roads. These can be difficult to avoid and are sometimes not visible until it is too late to change your path, making them a potential car accident cause.

Road maintenance is thought to account for around 7% of car accidents. Uneven road surfaces and potholes are especially dangerous as they can puncture your tyres, cause further serious damage to your wheels and cause your car to swerve dangerously off course.

Over-filled fuel tankers and vehicles with poorly fitted fuel caps are most likely to cause fuel spillage. But, like black ice, it is near impossible to see fuel spillages on the road surface. Not only does fuel spillage lead to car accidents but it is also a major cause of serious motorcycle accidents with more than 300 crashes attributable to fuel spillages every year.

This has caused uproar among the biking community and initiated the KillSpills protest rally which has run since 2003. The rally, sponsored by the British Motorcycle Federation, aims to raise awareness of how fuel spillages compromise road safety. The motorcyclists aim to present an action plan to the Prime Minister in September 2006, detailing how to prevent diesel spills. For further details visit

Making a car accident claim today

If you have been involved in a car accident through no fault of your own and would like to make a personal injury claim then we are here to help.

Our team of personal injury solicitors are highly experienced with such cases and will talk you through each stage of your claim, offering free legal advice along the way.

Following a car accident, you can claim for pain and suffering, any loss of earnings and much more. We are also dedicated to getting our customers back on the fast road to recovery so may be able to organise for you to receive top medical care in your area.

We have a no win no fee policy and making a car accident claim with us is completely risk-free.

Just give us a call on 0800 197 32 32 today to begin the process of making a car accident claim.