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Massachusetts Bad Weather Traffic Laws and How They Can Affect Your Car Accident Claim

Published in Car Accidents on February 25, 2024

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Navigating the aftermath of accidents caused by inclement weather can feel overwhelming, as determining fault may not be as straightforward. Despite the challenges presented by bad weather conditions, responsibility can often still be traced to specific parties when filing a car accident claim. Many accidents occur because other drivers do not sufficiently adapt their driving habits to accommodate for rain, snow, or other adverse weather conditions. By choosing to speed or ignore traffic laws rather than exercising increased caution, they may be liable for a crash. Understanding the bad weather traffic laws and your rights and options in such complex scenarios is crucial for ensuring you are supported and fairly compensated.

The Sweeney Merrigan Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of bad weather accidents understand their rights as it relates to the laws in Massachusetts that may affect their claim. With more than 45 years of experience and extensive knowledge of the traffic laws in Massachusetts, our legal team has recovered millions for clients seeking justice for their losses. Speak with one of our trusted bad-weather car accident lawyers today for a free case assessment at (617) 391-9001 or fill out a contact form.

How Inclement Weather Traffic Laws May Affect Your Massachusetts Car Accident Case

It is generally not against the law to drive during bad weather in Massachusetts. Many drivers in the state are accustomed to navigating through mild or moderate rain and snow without difficulty. However, it is crucial to consider the following factors before driving in bad weather:

  • Your driving abilities
  • Experience
  • The current state of your vehicle

It is important to note that there are circumstances under which driving in rain or snow shifts from being a matter of personal judgment to a legal issue. During weather emergencies, authorities may impose restrictions on road use, including outright bans on driving. In such scenarios, if a person disregards these orders, this action can lead to penalties, such as tickets or fines, regardless of whether an accident occurred or not.

Speeding in Bad Weather

Under Massachusetts law, specifically Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 90, § 17, there is a clear guideline on speed limits. This law not only enforces speed limits during clear weather but also mandates that drivers must adjust their speed according to the presence of special hazards or changes in weather and road conditions. This means that if a driver is moving at a speed deemed unreasonable and proper for the circumstances, even if below the posted speed limit, they could be found in breach of this statute.

Adjusting speed in accordance with bad weather is crucial for safety, especially under conditions like wet, snowy, or icy roads, or even during strong winds that could cause a vehicle to sway or drift. When evaluating whether a driver was moving too fast for the weather conditions, several factors come into play. These factors include the capabilities of the vehicle, like the following:

  • Four-wheel drive
  • Anti Lock brakes
  • All-weather tires

These factors can significantly influence its handling and stopping efficiency in adverse weather compared to a vehicle that is not as well equipped or has worn-out tires. These details are critical in determining what is considered “reasonable” driving under specific conditions. If it is found that your driving or your vehicle’s condition contributed to unsafe conditions, this could impact the assessment of fault in your car accident claim. A trusted Massachusetts lawyer will consider all of these factors when determining how the bad weather traffic laws in place may affect your claim and your right to pursue justice.

Get Help With Your Massachusetts Bad Weather Accident Claim

At Sweeney Merrigan Personal Injury Lawyers, we have the experience and resources to navigate the complexities of bad-weather car accident cases. Attorney J. Tucker Merrigan is one of our co-managing partners who has been practicing law with the firm for over ten years. From 2015-2021, Attorney Merrigan was honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorney by National Trial Lawyers. From 2018-2021, he was honored as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers.

For a no-cost consultation of your bad weather car accident claim, call (617) 391-9001 or fill out a contact form today.

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