Can drivers blame winter weather for car accidents?

About 17% of all vehicle crashes happen in the winter, according to statistics. When winter conditions lead to a crash, drivers often try to blame icy or snowy roads.

Who is at fault when winter conditions lead to a motor vehicle crash?

How winter weather affects fault

Drivers must adjust their driving to account for hazardous conditions, such as ice or snow on the roads. In most cases, if drivers cause an accident in winter weather conditions, they are still legally liable for damages caused by their negligence, even when weather conditions are a contributing factor.

How to drive safely in winter

Prepare your vehicle for winter weather. Keep your tires in good condition and properly inflated. If you use snow tires, install them before snowy weather arrives. Remove snow, ice or dirt from your car windows, taillights, headlights and backup camera. Have your brakes inspected and replace pads and rotors if necessary.

When driving in winter weather, reduce your speed and leave more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to account for longer stopping times. Get used to how your vehicle handles on icy, wet or snowy roads. Check the weather and road conditions before you leave. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

If you suffer an injury due to an accident caused by another driver during winter weather conditions, do not assume that driver has less responsibility for your damages because of the weather. All drivers have a responsibility to drive safely for the weather conditions and you have the right to hold them to that responsibility.