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Vancouver, Washington

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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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Ice and no fault collisions

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It can happen to the best of drivers. You aren’t sure if the road is icy or wet. You decide to go with the flow of traffic. After all, the other drivers must know the safe speed to drive, right? Then it happens, you hit a slick spot just as you’re braking for the car ahead. Your car begins to fishtail and you lose control. Maybe a collision occurs. Who is responsible? Was it an “act of god”? It was unforeseeable ice on the road. It couldn’t have been prevented. Is there such a thing as a “no fault” accident? The law does recognize the “act of god” defense. Typically this requires a natural disaster of fairly epic proportions. An unexpected twister touching down and throwing your car into the vehicle ahead would satisfy the requirements. Clark County actually had a rare twister touch down near the Vancouver Lake area earlier this year. But ice on the road? Even black ice? No such luck. We are all required to drive at a reasonable and safe speed when using the roads. What is reasonable and safe depends upon road, traffic and weather conditions present. And it’s no defense that others were traveling at similar speeds. If a vehicle loses control on ice, even unpredictable black ice, the driver is almost always held responsible.