Posted on: 28 October 2015
Winter is coming -- and it is bringing along freezing rain, sleet, snow, and icy roads as its companions. Before you brave the winter weather in your car, you should understand what your responsibilities are when it comes to preventing snow and ice-related car accidents. Two simple steps can help you reduce your chances of being in an accident. They can also reduce your liability to others if you are.
1.) Make sure that you clean off your car before you start driving.
Cleaning snow and ice completely off the hood and roof and windows of your car isn't just a good idea because it makes it easier for you to see the road -- it may also be the law. States like New Jersey that experience large amounts of winter weather issue tickets and fines for not clearing the snow off of your car. Fines without any injuries or damages involved can be as much as $75. If someone or something gets injured by a chunk of snow or ice flying off your hood, the fine can be as much as $1000.
You can also end up with other legal woes: if the ice or snow coming from the roof or hood of your car blinds another driver, you could end up being responsible for any accident that results -- even if you don't hit anything yourself. If you are involved in an accident and someone gets hurt, it may be hard to prove that you weren't momentarily blinded by the snow blowing off your hood.
2.) Make sure that you have snow tires or snow chains for your car.
Snow tires and snow chains help keep your car from sliding out of control on ice and snow, which reduces your risk of ending up involved in an accident and subsequent lawsuit. Not having them can also be a violation of the law.
The laws on snow tires and snow chains can vary from state to state, according to the current weather conditions, and even depending on what part of the state you're driving in. California, for example, requires snow chains if you're traveling in certain mountain areas. Find out the laws for your state and make sure that you understand them and follow them.
If you're supposed to be using snow tires or chains and you don't, you can find yourself accused of negligence per se. Negligence per se is an act that violates a safety law. If you're found to be guilty of negligence per se, you'll be found responsible for any accident that you're in as a result. That's a hard position to defend, so don't open yourself up to the possibility by ignoring the law.
If you end up in a weather-related accident this winter despite your precautions, contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your case.Share