Police were warning residents of Stamford, Connecticut, to stay off of the roads as snow continued to fall at up to four inches per hour. Warming temperatures were turning that snow to sleet, creating a sheet of ice on all major highways. While traffic remained relatively light, some drivers had been involved in car accidents after neglecting to follow the advice from the authorities. At least two cars were flipped over on the side of the road, and many others had spun out into the growing snowbanks.
Traffic cameras told the real tale, showing a car accident on the southbound Merritt Parkway and a tractor-trailer that was stuck or broken down on northbound I-95. Farther along northbound I-95, a vehicle was overturned, flipped up on its roof.
For many drivers, even at slow speeds, accidents have been hard to avoid. The ice can be hidden beneath a layer of snow, and cars cannot stop when sliding on it. The slush along the sides of the road, which increases when the sleet begins to fall, can pull cars out of their lanes. This is particularity dangerous with heavy tractor-trailers on the roads, seeing as how they take far longer to stop and can cause serious damage to other vehicles.
Due to the increasingly poor conditions, Gov. Dannel Malloy decided to ban tractor-trailers from all state highways. This happened after the semi was already abandoned on the side of the interstate, but the directive hoped to prevent further truck accidents.
Even when car wrecks are caused by the elements, drivers may still be held at fault. They could have been driving too fast for conditions. Furthermore, they could be taken to court by those who were injured in the accidents if they violated directives, such as the one Gov. Malloy issued to keep semi trucks off of the highways. The elements can cause accidents, but that does not absolve those drivers of blame, and lawyers can decide if the victims have a case after being involved in such an accident, taking the offending drivers to court for payment related to damages, pain and suffering and even loss of life.
Source: Stamford Daily Voice, “Stamford Drivers Avoid Roads; Cars Begin To Spin Out On Highways” Eric Gendron, Feb. 13, 2014