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Could I be at Fault for a Car Accident if I Fail to Clear Snow Off My Car?

Failing to sufficiently remove snow and ice from your vehicle before driving it is a form of negligence. If you are involved in an accident caused wholly or in part by accumulated ice or snow falling from your vehicle or impeding your vision, you could be deemed to be entirely or partially at fault for the accident, which can mean you are entitled to a reduced compensation package or even nothing at all if you file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your related damages.

Snow, Ice, and Other Winter Hazards

Each season brings unique car accident hazards, and winter’s can often be the most dangerous because ice and snow make the roadway more slippery while concealing hazards like potholes and debris in the road. The shorter daylight hours in the winter only exacerbate these hazards by making it more difficult for drivers to see.

Safely Maintaining Your Vehicle is Part of Your Duty to Others on the Road

Although you cannot control other drivers’ behavior, you can certainly take safety precautions to avoid causing an accident. When you are on the road and notice a vehicle with snow and ice accumulation on its roof or another surface, get as far away from that vehicle as you can while making safe moves to do so.

Part of being a responsible driver is taking care to safely maintain your vehicle. In the winter, vehicle maintenance involves more steps than it involves in the summer, especially after a snowfall or when the temperature is below freezing. Before you drive, give yourself as much time as you need to complete all of the following safety steps:

Check all of your car’s fluid levels. In the winter, your vehicle needs antifreeze to prevent the engine coolant from freezing solid. Even on the coldest winter days, your engine needs coolant to protect it from overheating;Check your windshield wiper blades regularly and replace them as needed. A dull wiper blade simply moves water and ice particles around the windshield, rather than pushing them out of your range of vision;Make sure your tires are properly inflated before every drive. Extreme temperature changes can affect your tire pressure;When your tire treads get low, replace your tires. Tires without sufficient treads cannot safely grip the roadway; andBrush and scrape all snow and ice from your roof, windshield, windows, and mirrors before driving. Never drive with snow or ice on your vehicle – it can fly off and cause an accident.

Work with an Experienced Lawyer

When you file a personal injury claim, there are many facts that have to be considered to determine not just whether you have grounds for your claim, but if you are entitled to the full amount of compensation you seek or if you may only recover part of your claim’s value. To learn more about how your state laws and your unique circumstances can impact your claim, contact our team of experienced personal injury lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd today to set up your initial consultation with us.

Published January 3, 2018
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