Road conditions as a cause of accidents

This page discusses assessment of fault in accidents where road conditions are a contributing cause.


If drivers are aware of particular conditions they are expected to drive in a manner that takes those conditions into account:


If the driver of a vehicle had reason to be familiar with the potential road, traffic, visibility or weather conditions which in fact arose, he had a duty to exercise caution by driving at a speed that was not excessive relative to those conditions.

(Lloyd v. Fox, 1991 CanLII 1007 (BC CA)).


However, where an unexpected road conditions cause an the accident there may be a finding that the driver of the vehicle in the accident was not negligent. In Nason v. Nunes, 2008 BCCA 203 the plaintiff was injured when the vehicle she was a passenger in went off the road in winter driving conditions. The vehicle fishtailed after hitting a “bump” between the road surface and a bridge. The Court of Appeal upheld the finding of the trial judge that the defendant drove with reasonable care and that any presumption of negligence was rebutted by the fact that the loss of control was initiated by the unexpected bump in the road. The claim against the road maintenance contractor was dismissed on the basis that it had met the required standard of care and could not have reasonably foreseen that black ice would form on the road at the time of the accident.



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