New Jersey residents are no strangers to blizzards and winter storms that can reduce traffic to a crawl and leave even major highways virtually impassable, but road safety advocates say that light snowfall or modest amounts of ice can be even more treacherous. NHTSA figures reveal that weather conditions played a role in about a quarter of all traffic accidents in America between 2004 and 2013, and snow, slush and ice were responsible for more than 40 percent of these incidents.
Driver behavior is often more to blame than poor visibility and slippery road surfaces when accidents happen during less severe winter weather. While motorists may slow down considerably or avoid travel altogether when conditions are particularly difficult, they often fail to make allowances when the road ahead remains relatively clear even though temperatures are frigid and snow is falling. Some say that the number of comfort and convenience features found in modern vehicles can make matters worse as they fool drivers into believing that the world beyond their windshields is just as temperate as their vehicle interiors.
An example of how even relatively tame winter conditions can cause havoc on the roads occurred in Massachusetts on Jan.4. Weather advisories, which are issued when snowfall is expected to be between one and three inches, were released by the National Weather Service in the early morning hours and then repeated in the late morning and midafternoon, but police in Marshfield were still called to the scene of 17 auto accidents.
Defendants in civil lawsuits stemming from winter car accidents may claim that the weather and not their reckless behavior was responsible for the crash, and personal injury attorneys must be able to counter this assertion if they are to secure compensation for accident victims. Experienced attorneys may review eyewitness testimony as well as footage recorded on nearby surveillance and security cameras in order to establish motorist negligence.