Posted speed limit signs in South Carolina advise drivers of top speeds permitted under ideal road conditions. When conditions are not ideal, drivers are required by law to reduce their speeds in order to operate safely under conditions such as:
- Road construction
- Sharp curves
- Loose or uneven pavement
- Heavy traffic
- Unusual traffic patterns
- Wet or slippery roads due to rain, snow, or ice
- Poor visibility due to fog or mist
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 45% of speeding-related auto accidents occur because drivers are traveling at speeds too fast for such road conditions, which can cause:
- Slower reaction time because of poor visibility
- Less vehicle control because of greater momentum
- Longer stopping distances due to wet or slick pavement
Negligence and Damages Following A Charleston, SC Car Accident
The average passenger car traveling at 70 mph requires approximately 315 feet to stop. At 50 mph, the same car can stop in 174 feet, so reducing speed in bad conditions gives you much more control of your vehicle. A driver who causes an accident by ignoring road conditions and traveling too fast, even though driving under the posted speed limit, is considered negligent and can be held responsible for damages that result from the crash. This includes:
- Medical expenses for injuries
- Lost wages due to time off work
- Pain and suffering due to injuries
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
Holding the Speeding Driver Responsible
If you are the victim of a crash caused by a car going too fast for road conditions, South Carolina law allows you to file a claim for damages against the negligent driver. You can improve your chances of recovering damages by following several guidelines after your accident. If you’re physically able to do so, you should:
- Move to a safe area.
- Call 911 to report the accident.
- Take photos of both vehicles involved, the accident scene, and anything that shows the road conditions (wet pavement, snow or ice on the ground, road construction, etc.).
- Exchange information with the other driver but do not get into a discussion or an argument.
- Don’t admit any fault.
- Get contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
- When the police arrive, answer their questions and point out the road conditions, but stick to the basic facts of the accident.
- Don’t sign anything other than the forms required by the police.
- Contact your insurance company.
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Consult an attorney.
The law enforcement officer at the scene will probably investigate, listen to the accounts of both drivers and any witnesses, fill out an accident report, and possibly issue a ticket to the driver deemed to be at fault. The officer’s report and conclusions, however, are not admissible in court and cannot be used as evidence of negligence on the part of either driver. To prove negligence and seek compensation for your damages, you will need the services of a South Carolina car accident lawyer.