Accident Law Going Up and Down Hills

Transportation Article Section 21-801(f) Approaching Crests of Grades: You are instructed that it is the law of this State that at all times, consistent with the requirements of this section, the driver of a vehicle shall drive at an appropriate, reduced speed when approaching the crest of a grade.

What This Instruction Means

Ultimately, the law is that you have to drive your vehicle at a speed that is reasonable and prudent given all of the relevant conditions.  Visibility and the ability to slow down your vehicle will vary with weather conditions, obstructions in the road, and the natural configurations of the highway. Motorists are responsible for being aware of all of the problems and limitations of that road that would be known to a reasonably prudent driver. 

This jury instruction on approaching or descending a hill is the same as any other condition on the roadway of which a driver must be aware. 

Stopping When Driving Down a Hill

Our lawyers see a lot of motor vehicle accident cases where the issue is whether the vehicle could have stopped.  This often requires some math. To compute the stopping distance of a vehicle, you have to look at the speed, the slope of the hill (rise over run) and the coefficient of friction between the tires and the road surface. 

Claims Against City or County

In serious injury and death cases, there are also claim brought against the state, city, or county or the design of the road.  Sometimes, these cases involve the failure to design a road in a way that best protects motor vehicles coming off a hill because of problems of limited visibility.  

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