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An Auto Owner’s Duties in Winter Weather in New Jersey

What Must a Vehicle Owner Do to Avoid Liability for Negligence?

An Auto Owner’s Duties in Winter Weather in New JerseyIt’s November and that means that, any day now, there could be snow on the ground in New Jersey…and on the windshields and hoods of cars. The roads will be more treacherous, with accumulations of snow and ice making it more difficult to stop and turn. What are the responsibilities of motor vehicle owners in New Jersey’s winter weather? When can a driver be liable for injuries caused in an accident?

The Standard of Care in New Jersey’s Winter Weather

It’s important to understand that, while the standard of care doesn’t actually change during the winter, the exercise of the standard of care does. At any time and in any weather, a driver must act as a reasonable person would “under the circumstances.” Because the circumstances change in New Jersey when it snows…roads become slippery, vision may be impaired by falling snow, or windshields by accumulate condensation or ice…a driver has to respond differently than during the rest of year. That typically means reducing speed, increasing distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, and paying closer attention when turning or changing lanes.

There are no specific rules in New Jersey governing the conduct of drivers in snowy or icy winter weather. Instead, a jury will typically look at the evidence and make a determination whether the actions of a driver were reasonable.

Must a Driver Keep His or Her Car Free of Snow and Ice?

When determining whether a defendant caused an accident, a jury may consider the failure to remove snow or ice from a windshield or hood as evidence of negligence. However, the State of New Jersey has also enacted a written law requiring that all motorists take the time to remove snow and ice from the hood, roof and windows of a car, both before getting behind the wheel and while driving, if the accumulation interferes with the driver’s vision of the road. Violation of this law can result in fines of anywhere from $25 to $1,000.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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