How Icy Roads Increase Risk of Car Accidents

Car crash on icy road

Icy roads are a top cause of auto accidents in Missouri during the winter. Many crashes in wintertime occur because drivers fail to slow down and use appropriate caution on slick, ice-covered roads. 

Why Icy Roads Are Dangerous to Drivers

Icy roads include roads covered in ice and snow following a winter storm. Post-storm icy roads can pose a danger to motorists who assume that their vehicles can maintain traction on snow. However, the snow may cover patches of slick ice that can cause vehicle tires to slip, triggering a spin-out.

Icy roads during winter can also include roads covered in black ice. Black ice is a thin, transparent layer that often blends in with the road surface, making it virtually invisible to motorists, especially at night. Black ice can form following a rainstorm if temperatures dip rapidly overnight and can form in the evening or early morning from ambient moisture in the air. Because motorists often do not notice black ice, their vehicles can spin out after losing traction when hitting a patch of ice.

How Do Icy Roads Cause Car Accidents?

Roads covered in ice can contribute to car accidents for various reasons. Specifically, icy roads can cause wrecks by:

  • Increasing necessary braking distances due to less traction on icy surfaces
  • Causing spin-outs after a vehicle hits a patch of ice, especially if the vehicle is not equipped with winter-rated tires or is using cruise control
  • Triggering mechanical issues in vehicles that struggle to maintain traction on slick roads

What Are the Most Common Types of Winter Driving Accidents?

The most common types of winter driving accidents include the following:

  • Rear-end accidents caused by speeding or tailgating
  • Head-on accidents caused by vehicles spinning or veering into opposing lanes of traffic after hitting ice on the road
  • Sideswipe accidents caused by loss of control after hitting a patch of ice
  • Single-vehicle accidents, including road departure or rollover accidents, caused by drivers spinning out on icy roads

Who Is Responsible for a Car Accident in Icy Conditions?

The parties responsible for a car accident occurring in icy conditions depend on the circumstances of the crash. In most cases, responsibility for a car accident on icy roads falls on a driver who was negligent, reckless, or careless. Examples include speeding or driving too fast for road conditions, tailgating, or failing to perform vehicle maintenance, including equipping the vehicle with all-weather or winter tires.

Auto mechanics may also have responsibility for car accidents if they fail to advise vehicle owners to replace worn tires and brakes, for example.

In rare cases, state and local governments responsible for maintaining the roads might bear responsibility for car accidents caused by icy roads if they fail to salt or sand roads in a reasonable amount of time following winter storms. Government agencies might also be liable for failing to post warning signs on stretches of roads that experience frequent icing or failing to post lower speed limits during adverse weather conditions.

Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at Sumner Law Group, LLC

Reach out to Sumner Law Group, LLC, today for a free, no-obligation consultation with our car accident attorneys if you were involved in a crash on icy roads. Let our firm help you better understand your legal options for seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.

Brent Sumner

Brent A. Sumner is the Managing Partner at Sumner Law Group, LLC. He focuses his practice exclusively on cases that involve serious personal injuries. Over the years, he has successfully represented thousands of individuals and families, recovering millions of dollars in compensation for injured accident victims.