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When Are Drivers Responsible for Car Accidents in Winter Weather?

Posted on in Car Accident

Arlington Heights personal injury attorneyThe winter is one of the most dangerous times of the year to use the road, since there are a variety of factors that affect drivers’ ability to operate their vehicles safely. Snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, and other weather conditions can reduce traction on the road, making it more likely that drivers will lose control of their vehicles. Drivers’ visibility may also be limited in the winter, and this can occur during snowstorms or heavy rain, because of snow built up on a vehicle, or due to fogged windows. Shorter days during the winter also require many people to drive after dark, which will further limit visibility, making it more difficult for drivers to see obstacles in the road and respond to other vehicles or pedestrians. All of these factors can combine to increase the likelihood of car accidents. Those who have been involved in a collision will want to determine whether another driver’s negligence was to blame for the injuries and damages they have suffered.

Driver Negligence That Can Lead to Winter Car Accidents

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 24% of all car accidents take place on roads that contain snow, ice, or slush. These accidents lead to nearly 120,000 injuries and 1,300 deaths every year. In addition, 15% of all accidents take place during snowfall or sleet, and these crashes result in 76,000 injuries and 900 deaths annually. Illinois is one of the most dangerous states for winter car accidents, with an average of 38 fatal collisions taking place during the winter each year.

Because of these dangers, drivers should take extra care to drive safely during the winter and avoid collisions. Some forms of driver negligence that can lead to winter car crashes include:

  • Failure to reduce speed - Because of decreased traction on the roads during the winter, it will often take longer to slow down and stop. Drivers should drive more slowly, and they should increase the distance between themselves and other vehicles to reduce the possibility of rear-end collisions.
  • Failure to account for weather conditions - Drivers should be sure to understand how to control their vehicle safely when there is snow or ice on the road, including how to regain control if they go into a skid. Drivers who do not take extra care when negotiating roads, highways, and intersections may cause collisions if they lose control of their vehicle.
  • Failure to perform vehicle maintenance - It is important to ensure that a vehicle can operate safely during the winter. Drivers should check their tire treads and air pressure to ensure they will have enough traction on snowy or icy roads, and they should also make sure windshield wipers, defrosters, and batteries are functioning properly. 
  • Distracted driving - Because of the increased risks of winter driving, drivers should always pay full attention to the road. Texting while driving or other distractions that take a driver’s mind away from the act of driving can result in deadly collisions.
  • Drunk driving - Intoxication by drugs or alcohol will affect a driver’s vision, coordination, and reaction time. This makes driving dangerous at any time of the year, but during the winter, it will greatly increase the chances that a driver will be unable to operate their vehicle safely and avoid colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles.

Contact Our Schaumburg Winter Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured in a car accident during the winter, Newland & Newland, LLP will help you gather evidence to show that your injuries and damages were caused by another driver’s negligence, and we will fight to make sure you receive the financial compensation you deserve. Contact our Palatine personal injury lawyers at 847-797-8000 to arrange a complimentary consultation.

 

Sources:

https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/weather_events/snow_ice.htm

https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/02/06/winter-fatal-car-accidents/97551588/

https://www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-safety

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