It’s bitterly cold in the Bellingham area this week and with plenty of snow in the forecast, we are dealing with icy and snowy road conditions. We all know that snow and ice increases the risk of car accidents and the statistics bear this out. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), 24 percent of all weather-related crashes happen because of snowy, icy roads. Additionally, more than 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in motor vehicle accidents on roads covered in snow, slush or ice each year. What many do not know is that the cold can also affect tire performance and therefore increase the risk of a collision. This is especially true when tires are already worn down.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was driving on worn down tires, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. As drivers we owe a duty of care to all other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the road and this includes a responsibility to keep our vehicles well maintained. Contact a local car accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.
How the Cold Affects Tires and Increases the Risk of Car Accidents
Car tire performance is affected by temperature – especially cold weather. The cold can make a tire’s air pressure drop dramatically. As a general rule, tires lose an average of one to two pounds per square inch (PSI) of tire pressure for every ten degrees the temperature drops. Driving a vehicle on low-pressure tires caused by cold weather can increase the risk of all types of motor vehicle accidents.
The reason is that underinflated tires lose their shape from the preferable squared shape to a more dangerous rounded shape. Some other things to keep in mind when driving in the cold:
- Driving on an underinflated tire can cause the tire to blow up – destabilizing the vehicle.
- The inner edge of the tire can loosen up when temperatures fall below freezing – which can create an air leak and a deflating tire over time.
There is a common myth out there that driving on deflated tires is an advantage on snowy roads but once the roads have been plowed, deflated tires can create too much friction, which can make you lose control of your vehicle. No matter what type of tire you have, it’s important to drive with optimum pressure to prevent a collision.
Check on your tires before heading out in the cold
It’s important to check your tires for proper tire pressure before heading out in colder weather. Look for manufacturer information about your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure, which is typically located on a sticker inside the driver’s door.
Proper tire pressure is essential for stability, control, and grip while driving. Without it, you are at risk of sliding on the road and crashing into another vehicle, stationary object such as a guardrail, or worse, a pedestrian. Appropriate levels of tire pressure are even more important when driving on slippery roads because slippery, icy roads reduce tire friction and grip, which can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle.
Determining fault in your winter weather accident
Determining fault in a motor vehicle accident always depends on the circumstances surrounding the crash. Many factors may contribute to your accident. Some of the reasons another party can be liable for your accident are listed below. A tire defect car accident lawyer can help review the cause of your accident and discuss your options for recovering a full and fair settlement.
The following factors may affect liability in your accident:
- Driving a poorly maintained vehicle, including deflated tires
- Speeding or driving inappropriately fast for road conditions
- Tailgating or following too close for road conditions
- Poorly maintained roads
- Alcohol or drugs
- Breaking a traffic law such as running a run light
Seek the help of a car accident lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a collision because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!