Accumulations of Snow and Ice on the Road | The Duties of Motorists in Inclement Weather
It snows every year in New Jersey, but many motorists drive as if they’ve never experienced it before. The accumulation of even minimal amounts of snow and ice can make the roads treacherous and pose significant risk of accident and injury. What are the duties of motorists when driving in snowy or icy conditions in New Jersey? Is there a higher duty because of inclement weather conditions?
New Jersey Law Governing Snow and Ice
While New Jersey does not have any statutes that specifically address liability for personal injury in motor vehicle accidents in snowy or icy conditions, the state is one of a handful that requires motorists to remove all snow and ice from their vehicle before getting on the road. The primary objective of that law is to minimize the risk of injury. You can receive a ticket for driving with accumulated snow or ice on your car, and the ticket can be used against you as evidence in any personal injury claim that arises out of an automobile crash on a snowy or ice-covered road.
A Motorist’s Duty of Care in New Jersey Winter Weather
If you’re hurt in a car crash in icy or snowy weather in New Jersey, any claim for damages is likely to be based on a legal theory of negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that the at-fault party was not acting reasonably at the time of the accident. The determination of what is considered reasonable necessarily includes a consideration of the surrounding circumstances at the time of the crash. Accordingly, a person must consider the weather conditions while driving a car and must take reasonable steps to minimize the risk of accident or injury. In snowy or icy conditions, that may include the following:
- reducing speed;
- leaving greater distance from the car in front of you;
- using snow tires; and
- properly maintaining your vehicle, including tires, windshield wipers, and brakes, to minimize the risk of a collision.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a motor vehicle accident injury in snowy or icy conditions, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton. Currently, all our client communications are by phone, text message, and videoconference.
We handle all cases on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.