Car Accidents Due To Speeding
As a driver, you have the duty to act as an ordinarily prudent driver under the circumstances. If you fail to act as a prudent driver you may be negligent in the operation of your vehicle and liable to another in the event your negligence causes a car accident. One common cause of car accidents is speeding. When someone speeds they may be negligent in the operation of their vehicle, and if the act of speeding causes a car accident, be liable to the injured for damages. For example, if someone is driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit at night and rear-ends a car moving at the speed limit due to excessive speed, the speeding driver may fairly be said to be negligent in the operation of their vehicle and liable to the victim for any damages resulting from the accident.
Negligence & Speeding Depends On The Facts
You are not automatically negligent because you were driving 10 miles over the speed limit. Whether you or another driver is negligent due to speeding depends upon the facts. Finding negligence in speeding speaks to the question of whether the driver was acting as a prudent driver under the circumstances; whether they were maintaining a speed slow enough that they could stop for an event that would be predicted by a prudent driver. Accordingly, finding negligence in speeding will depend upon the circumstances. Driving a car 5 miles over the posted speed limit on an open road on a clear day may not be negligent due to the good visibility and road conditions, but driving at the same speed in a storm at night may be negligent under the circumstances.
As mentioned above, one factor affecting the reasonableness of a certain speed is visibility. In poor visibility conditions driving at a certain speed may be considered negligent whereas driving at the same speed in good visibility may not be. For instance, even driving at the posted speed limit at night may be negligent if an ordinarily prudent driver would not drive at that speed due to their inability to make a stop within the limits of their headlights. In essence, a driver’s duty of care to the world requires driving at a slower speed when conditions require it. By driving at a speed in excess of what visibility conditions allow the driver may be negligent, and where that negligence results in a car accident the driver could be liable to a victim for their injuries.
Many car accidents occur in intersections. In light of this reality, a drive can be negligent if they are driving at an unsafe speed through an intersection in light of the surrounding circumstances. If traveling at a certain speed through an intersection is unsafe under the circumstances, the driver would be negligent if they drove at that speed through the intersection and caused a car accident. However, drivers are entitled to assume that other cars will operate in accordance with the law unless they are on notice that another car is violating the law as evidenced by their movements. For instance, while a driver can assume that other cars will stop at a red light, the driver cannot assume the same and thereby remain non-negligent if they notice that another car is rapidly approaching the intersection at a rate of speed that suggests that they will not stop at their red light. Upon noticing the other car’s movement that suggests their violation of traffic laws, the driver with the right of way must act prudently under the circumstances and either slow down or come to a stop.