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Accidents on Icy Roads

Spring may be around the corner but drivers should take note of the dangers of black ice on the road, particularly in the early mornings and where there is already water on the road. On 21 March 2007 a passenger of a BMW motor vehicle sustained a serious head and brain injury after the driver of the vehicle lost control on black ice in Devon, on the road between Ivybridge and Yelverton, and the vehicle ran into a wall.

It should also be noted that when that case went to Court five years later, the trial judge found that the driver had not been driving at an excessive speed and the presence of the patch of ice could not reasonably have been foreseen and so the passenger's compensation claim failed. The judge's decision was appealed but upheld by the Court of Appeal (Smith v Fordyce[2013] EWCA Civ 320) who agreed that the accident had occurred without any negligence on the part of the driver and that black ice is "an unusual and hidden hazard".