Iowa Car Accidents and Winter Driving
What if road conditions played a role in the accident?Under Iowa law a driver has a duty to maintain control of their vehicle and drive it in a safe manner given the road conditions. Failing to do this is negligence. So while the road conditions may play a role in an accident it will seldom be a complete defense.
What if there is a sudden emergency or act God that causes the car accident?Under Iowa law there are a few exceptions to holding another driver responsible for a car accident. A sudden emergency has been defined as (1) an unforeseen combination of circumstances which calls for immediate action; (2) a perplexing contingency or complication of circumstances; (3) a sudden or unexpected occasion for action, exigency, pressing necessity. Id. at 481. A driver who relies upon the sudden emergency doctrine to justify his conduct must prove all of the following propositions: (1) he was faced with a sudden emergency; (2) the emergency was not created by his own negligence; and (3) he conducted himself as a reasonably careful person would have in a similar emergency.
What are some examples of the sudden emergency doctrine as it applies to snow and ice in Iowa?Brown v. Guiter, 256 Iowa 671, 128 N.W.2d 896 (1964). Court's refusal to instruct jury regarding sudden emergency doctrine was proper where defendant knew of the icy condition of the street long before he reached the intersection. The court held the icy condition of the street was in no way sudden.
Boge v. Jack Link Tuck Line, Inc., 200 N.W.2d 544 (Iowa 1972). Truck passenger brought suit against owner and operator of truck which struck a bridge during freezing rain. The court determined that defendant knew, expected and predicted the peril in ample time to take precautions to avoid it. The court held that where the peril from slipperiness is not sudden and unexpected, the sudden emergency doctrine is unavailable.