Bad weather conditions can cause motorcycle accidents by impairing visibility and creating slick surfaces. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to hazards on the road. Motorcycle riders have very few safety protections and no steel structure encasing them if they are involved in an accident. Motorcyclists and their passengers are exposed to the dangers of bad weather conditions far more than those riding in a closed vehicle.
Over 5,500 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The causes of these crashes vary depending on the circumstances. Bad weather conditions can cause motorcycle accidents, especially in Indiana.
How Bad Weather Contributes To Motorcycle Accidents
Snow, ice, sleet, and rain can all make driving conditions hazardous on our roads. Any driver should take certain precautions when heading out in bad weather. When a driver’s unsafe or negligent actions make matters worse during a storm or blizzard, it can end in a devastating accident with serious injuries. A motorcycle accident lawyer can fight for compensation for your injuries.
According to a 2019 report published by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, many vehicle crashes in Indiana involving a motorcyclist and another driver could be blamed on an unsafe action taken by one of those drivers.
Some of these include:
- Going too fast (in bad weather conditions)
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Unsafe lane changes
- Improper passing
- Driver distraction
When a driver commits any of these actions during inclement weather conditions, the chances of causing an accident increase.
The Indiana University Public Policy Institute reports that, when an unsafe action was to blame for the accident, the driver of the other vehicle was at fault 60 percent of the time, while the motorcyclist was at fault 38 percent of the time.
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Safety Precautions For Riding In Bad Weather
Sometimes you cannot predict when a sudden storm will occur or when snow will fall. However, motorcycle riders can take certain precautions to ensure they are as safe as possible before heading out on the road.
Practice Makes Perfect
Take the time to learn how to properly operate your motorcycle. Every bike handles differently, and it is critical you feel comfortable whether you are riding on a dirt road or a busy highway. Knowing how to handle your bike in various conditions, especially in dangerous weather or on slick roads, can prevent accidents from happening.
You can practice riding safely in the rain or snow by:
- Wearing highly visible, weatherproof clothing
- Staying on the pavement rather than trying to navigate dirt paths or roads, which can become muddy and dangerous
- Traveling slowly—even the legal speed limit may be too fast in inclement weather
- Pulling over if it starts precipitating harder than you are comfortable with
- Preparing to react to slick spots on the road you may not see
Before you ride, you will want to do a thorough safety check of your motorcycle so your motorcycle will perform at its best in bad weather. That means checking the tire pressure and tread depth and making sure the hand and foot brakes are working. Also, check all fluid levels and make sure the headlights and signal indicators are in proper working order.
Before you go out for a ride, check the local weather report on the news or on your phone. If there is a significant chance of severe weather hitting during your trip, do not go. It is better to be overcautious than to risk getting caught in a bad storm.
You cannot always prevent an accident from happening, but knowing how to operate your motorcycle and keeping it in good working order can help, especially in bad weather conditions.
Motorcycle Accidents In Bad Weather
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute report contains a surprising statistic—the vast majority of motorcycle accidents occur on clear days.
How is this possible if riding in bad weather is so dangerous? One possible explanation is that motorcyclists, realizing the danger or not wanting to get wet or cold, are more likely to avoid riding in such conditions. In this way, they avoid accidents. They realize that each type of weather carries its own hazards:
- Rain: When heavy enough, rain can obstruct visibility. It also creates slick spots on the road that make it easy for drivers and motorcyclists to lose control.
- Wind: It is harder to maintain your balance on a motorcycle if strong winds are pushing you off course.
- Ice: While falling from the sky as hail or sleet, ice can be very distracting for a motorcyclist. If the ground is wet and cold, ice can form, causing near-invisible slippery spots that could cause you to skid.
- Snow: Snow can very quickly obscure your visibility. Even if it is no longer falling and the sun is out, the glare of sunlight bouncing off snowdrifts can blind you.
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Recoverable Losses In A Motorcycle Accident
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident with another vehicle and the accident was not your fault (or was brought on by bad weather conditions), you could be entitled to seek compensation. You may be eligible to recover both economic and non-economic damages based on the facts of your case. This could include:
- Your past, current, and future medical expenses. You may require a lengthy hospital stay, multiple surgeries, and long-term rehabilitation.
- Lost income due to missed work as a result of your injuries. Filing a personal injury claim and holding the at-fault driver accountable can help you recoup your damages and losses.
- Pain and suffering. The wounds you sustained are very painful and either temporarily or permanently affect your quality of life.
- Mental anguish. Both the accident itself and the resulting injuries can cause deep emotional pain.
- Any scarring or disfigurement the accident caused. Scars can affect not only your appearance but also your ability to use the injured area.
Keep in mind that insurance adjusters are trained to try to get you to settle, and they may offer you a low settlement amount. This is where hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you can help. They know how to negotiate with the insurance company and pursue the fair compensation you deserve.
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Finding A Personal Injury Lawyer Near You
A motorcycle accident attorney in Indiana can protect you if you decide to file a claim after a motorcycle accident. For example, they can tell you if the accident was purely the result of bad weather or if another party, including one of the following, played a part:
- Another driver
- A motorcycle part manufacturer
- An auto part manufacturer
- The local government
With your attorney’s help, you can calculate how much you may be entitled to, confront any liable parties, and negotiate for a fair settlement, all without having to talk directly to an insurance company that may fight against your claim or lawsuit.
After A Motorcycle Accident, Contact The Lawyer Who Rides
At Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., you can work with an attorney who understands what you are going through. Randy Sevenish is a fellow rider who knows the joys and risks of riding. He can help by investigating your case, determining the value of your losses, filing a claim, and standing by your side if the case goes to trial.
Call our office to speak to a member of our team today for a free consultation regarding your case. Our personal injury attorney will do everything possible to secure the compensation you need.