Although driving can be dangerous at any time of the year, driving during the winter months presents its own unique challenges and hazards. Even when you’ve taken precautions for driving in winter weather and have experience operating a vehicle in hazardous conditions, many other people on the road with you likely have not. You should understand how to prepare and protect yourself during winter driving, and what your rights are if you do get into an accident on the road during the winter months.
How Winter Driving Is More Dangerous
Wintertime can create driving hazards that are unique for this time of year, including:
- Adverse weather: Snow squalls can seemingly come out of nowhere while you are behind the wheel, quickly reducing your visibility. If you are in a store or a restaurant, a winter storm can easily drop several inches of snow or freezing rain during the time you are inside
- Colder temperatures: Cold temps means that vehicles can have difficulty performing. Engines can seize up if not properly maintained, while tires can lose traction if drivers don’t switch to winter tires. In addition, colder temperatures also increase the risk of the formation of black ice, a thin, translucent or transparent sheet of ice that can be very difficult to spot.
- Less sunlight: In New Jersey, the winter months mean early sunrises — many people have to go to work before the sun even rises, and don’t get to leave to go home until after sunset, meaning they are frequently driving in dark conditions.
- Increased traffic: During November and December, traffic on the road increases as people travel for holiday parties or go out holiday shopping, particularly on weekends.
Even if you take precautions in the winter, many other drivers don’t even think to prepare their vehicles for the winter or change their driving habits during colder or adverse weather.
Seeking Compensation for a Wintertime Accident
Although winter weather and conditions can increase the risk of an accident, it still doesn’t excuse a driver whose negligence causes a motor vehicle crash. If you are hit by another driver, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for damages resulting from your accident, including:
- Costs of medical treatment, including expected future care and rehabilitation
- Ongoing and future personal care costs, such as home health services, home maintenance services, or renovations to your home to help accommodate disabilities you’ve suffered due to your accident
- Lost wages for the time you miss from work while recovering
- Lost future earnings, if you cannot return to your pre-accident level of income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life due to physical disabilities or disfigurements
Even though winter conditions cannot absolve a driver from his or her liability for an accident, many at-fault drivers and their insurance companies may try to use the weather to reduce their liability to you for your injuries and damages. New Jersey is a comparative fault state, meaning that liability for damages arising from an accident can be assigned to different persons and causes; if an insurance company can successfully argue that winter conditions were partially to blame for an accident, they might be able to pay less money to you.
Read more: Winter-Related Car Accidents
Contact a Perth Amboy Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Karim Arzadi Law Office represent clients injured because of motor vehicle accidents in Clifton, Trenton, Camden, Passaic, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 442-5900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 163 Market St., Perth Amboy, NJ 08861, as well as offices in New Brunswick, Roselle, East Orange, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Linden, Newark, Paterson, South Amboy, and Trenton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.