Articles Posted in Weather Related Accidents

New Hampshire residents are no strangers to winter weather, but the state has experienced a series of winter storms bringing heavy snow. Along with these wintry weather conditions often comes slippery ice, which inevitably makes its way onto the road. If you need to drive in wintry weather conditions, it is important to take preventative steps before and after getting in your car to stay safe.

A recent news article demonstrated just how dangerous winter weather can be. Police in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts reported several winter weather accidents after a recent storm. From 11pm to 6am, New Hampshire state police responded to approximately 30 crashes. For example, in Westborough, an oil truck rolled over on the road. No one was injured, but emergency personnel closed the road to offload the oil and turn the truck upright. Later, on Route 3 in Tyngsborough, police reported a multi-vehicle accident involving two school buses. No children on the school bus were injured. State police urged drivers to reduce their speed and take extra precautions when driving in the wintry weather.

How Can You Stay Safe in a New Hampshire Winter Weather Accident?

Before you even get on the road, you can take steps to stay safe in the event of a winter weather accident. First, take your car in for inspection. Identifying potential safety issues with your vehicle is key to preventing a serious accident, no matter what the weather brings. Second, pack a blanket and a portable charger in your car. In the aftermath of a crash, you may be waiting in cold weather for assistance. As you wait, it is important to stay warm and keep your phone charged so you can stay in contact with emergency personnel. If you do experience a winter weather accident, stay calm. If you can, try to pull your vehicle over to the shoulder. Once you are pulled over, call local police for assistance. Be sure to remain in your vehicle until you can safely exit the highway with the help of emergency personnel.

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From heavy snow to slippery black ice, winter weather can create dangerous conditions on the road. When drivers need to travel in wintery weather conditions, they must take extra precautions to say safe. Otherwise, winter weather accidents can place drivers at risk of serious injury.

A recent news article shows the dangers of winter weather on the road. After a winter storm. New Hampshire police reported over 90 car accidents throughout the state on a single day. Several crashes were serious highway accidents. The first crash occurred on I-93 north when a vehicle rolled over, injuring the driver. A few hours later, police responded to another crash in Warner. On I-89 south, a fully-loaded commercial carrier veered off the road and slid into the snow. The accident occurred when one of the vehicles on the carrier became dislodged and rolled off the carrier. The dislodged vehicle landed in the right lane of the highway. The carrier operator was transported to the hospital for minor injuries.

Then, in the afternoon, another severe crash happened in the same location. A tractor-trailer driver was passing the road closure caused by the earlier commercial carrier accident. As the driver passed the road closure, he lost control of his tractor-trailer, which spun out. The tractor-trailer then hit a parked heavy-duty wrecker and flatbed tow truck, which were clearing the road after the previous accident. Police cited the driver for traveling too fast, given the severe winter weather conditions.

Unfortunately, Massachusetts was no different. As the winter storm raged on, at least three people died from separate car accidents. In the first crash, the deceased was traveling southbound when he veered into the opposite lane, striking an SUV traveling in the other direction. A few hours later, another driver died after losing control of his vehicle, traveling on the wrong side of the road, and colliding head-on with another vehicle. The next morning, a van fatally struck a pedestrian and then fled the scene.

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As winter storms begin to pick up throughout the country, and specifically in the northeast, New England drivers should be prepared for the dangerous winter driving conditions that come along with the change in seasons. Winter driving increases the risk of snow and ice on roadways. Winter conditions also affect visibility, and the impacts of high winds can be dangerous to New Hampshire drivers. A woman was killed earlier this month when she crashed her car into a tree that had fallen into the roadway as a result of the high winds in a winter storm.

According to a local news report discussing the tragic accident, the victim was driving on Route 11 in Sunapee on December 1st during a winter storm. As the woman was driving, a tree was blown over by the high winds and fell into the roadway. The 22-year-old woman reportedly crashed her car into the fallen tree and was killed in the impact. This tragic crash demonstrates that New Hampshire drivers should be especially careful when driving during winter conditions.

Defining financial liability for a single-vehicle collision is not always easy. Although no auto insurance coverage is required in our state, most New Hampshire drivers carry bodily injury insurance coverage that will pay damages related to the injury or death of anyone hurt in a crash except for a negligent driver. This type of insurance coverage does not compensate a driver for their own injuries in the event of a single-vehicle accident caused by road conditions. Many New Hampshire drivers also purchase Medpay insurance coverage (sometimes called PIP), which does cover injuries to an at-fault driver that are incurred in a crash, although the coverage is usually limited to less than $10,000 per accident.

Winter drivers in New England are expected to modify their driving habits in response to the road conditions, and often should drive much more slowly and cautiously than would be required if the roads and weather were clear. So far this winter, several significant storms have made for very dangerous roads in the region. A recently published local news report from New Hampshire discusses some of the hazards and risks of winter driving in New England

According to the recently published news report, freezing rain, sleet, and slush have made for very hazardous roads in New Hampshire this month. Drivers are responsible to operate their vehicles in a safe manner regardless of the road conditions. It is not enough to simply follow the posted speed limit without paying attention to the roads. A driver who is traveling at a speed that is unsafe considering the road conditions (even if that speed is lower than the posted limit) can face civil and criminal liability for unsafe driving in the event of a crash.

New Hampshire state law sets the speed limits on state roadways, requiring that drivers travel at a speed slower than the posted speed limit during inclement weather conditions. Because state law mandates a lower speed limit depending upon weather conditions, a driver who is traveling at a dangerous speed (below the speed limit) can still be cited and held liable for a traffic violation as well as negligence in the event of an accident.

It’s a fact of life: driving during winter weather conditions is much more dangerous than when conditions are ideal. And, while most drivers understand this, the rate of weather-related car accidents in New Hampshire remains high.

In fact, just recently, a New Hampshire news report discussed several winter-weather car accidents occurring throughout the state during and after a storm. In total, there were dozens of car accidents, most of which were caused by icy and snowy conditions. For example, a rollover was reported near Exit 2 on Interstate 89, and New Hampshire State Police reported I-89 was “all backed up” due to this, and various other accidents.

What Are Drivers’ Responsibilities During Inclement Weather?

New Hampshire motorists should exercise a higher duty of caution when driving during bad weather conditions. While inclement weather may increase the likelihood of a collision, the weather alone is rarely the cause of an accident. Under New Hampshire traffic laws, drivers must adjust their driving to the pertinent road and weather conditions. Even if an accident occurs because of bad weather, a negligent driver may still be held liable.

Drivers can avoid an inclement weather accident by:

Reducing their speed – Slick road conditions contribute to many New Hampshire weather-related collisions.

Leaving a greater distance between vehicles – Allowing a greater distance between cars can provide motorists with additional time to brake.

Maintaining their vehicles – Drivers should take extra steps to conduct maintenance before the winter season.

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