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Icy, Wintry Road Conditions Pose Serious Danger to South Carolina Motorists

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With the weather getting colder in (some parts of) South Carolina, your Charleston personal injury attorneys are reminded of an auto and trucking accident case from the 1930s. The case presents the concept of a “duty to warn,” and also serves as a great reminder for truckers and drivers to take extra precaution when traveling in wintry conditions.

Now into the meat of the case: A pair of Trucking Co. trucks stalled on an icy highway in South Carolina, completely blocking the road. Because of the position of the stalled trucks at the base of a hill, a car coming over the hill would not the trucks until they had come over the crest of the hill and started making its way down. Essentially, without effective warning, a car coming down the hill would be unable to avoid a collision with the stalled trucks.

In fact, there was a collision with a vehicle coming down the hill. The car’s driver sued the trucking company for personal injuries suffered due to negligence on the part of trucks’ drivers to post effective warning.

The issue on appeal was not whether the truck drivers were required to warn of their trucks’ precarious positioning at the base of the hill, but rather, the warning they provided was effective in warning other drivers of the danger they faced. The truckers had the trucks’ lights on and placed highway flares near the trucks. Given the circumstances and dangerous wintry conditions, however, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that these efforts were ineffective to warn oncoming motorists of the danger.

Thus, the Court held that the truck company’s drivers failed to carry out the warning of an existing danger in a manner reasonably calculated to prevent a collision; the injured car driver to see the stalled trucks until he was within a little over fifty feet from the trucks, and unable to avoid an auto accident.

While the icy, dangerous conditions described above do not regularly present themselves to South Carolina drivers, your Charleston car accident attorneys strongly encourage drivers to be conscious of potentially hazardous scenarios that arise during the winter months. Even though we, as South Carolinians not accustomed to wintery road conditions its important to take extra precautions to prevent serious auto accidents.

Source(s): Montgomery v. Nat’l Convoy & Trucking Co., 195 S.E. 247 (S.C. 1937)

Posted In: wrongful or accidental death