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Can Someone Be At-Fault for a Collision on Icy Roads

Car Accident Lawyer

The winter months are dangerous for drivers; sheets of ice, inclement weather, and snow all come together to make driving conditions less than ideal. It is common for the number of accidents to increase when cold weather sets in.

If a car spins out on the ice or loses control, is it the driver’s fault? Can someone be held accountable for a collision if the ice was the cause? Yes, it is. Driving conditions are no excuse for lack of control.

Personal Responsibility

When you receive your driver’s license, you enter into a public agreement. The agreement you make is about personal responsibility. You have acknowledged an understanding of the law, and you have shown mastery over a vehicle. 

Part of driving and mastery is the assessment of road conditions. Before you decide to get behind the wheel, you need to assess the weather and, in some minor way, perform a cost-benefit analysis against driving. 

When you decide to travel the icy roads, you are making a conscious decision that your errands are worth the risks of travel. You are making a statement that you are capable of managing your vehicle safely in less-than-safe conditions. Therefore, you are taking on the responsibility of maneuvering your vehicle through the streets without incident.

Unknown Variables

Some motorists will argue that they had no way of knowing how icy the roads would be, but this is not an accurate or effective argument in most situations. If you are traveling the roadways after snow, sleet, or rain with freezing temperatures, it is fair to assume you might come into contact with ice. 

While a motorist might expect the city to salt the roadways, that is an element outside their control. Therefore, when presented with the facts of the day — cold, snow, rain, sleet — ice is a natural assumption. 

Taking a vehicle out despite the awareness for potential ice means the driver acknowledges and accepts the risks. Therefore, if a collision occurs because they hit a patch of ice, it results from their decision-making and not some unknown factor, meaning they can be held accountable for a crash.

Obviously, there might be room for other variables that might negate the level of responsibility, but that is for the police and lawyers to decide. If you are considering taking your claim to court, contact a car accident lawyer, like Ward & Ward Law Firm, to discuss your next steps.


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