Can Drivers be Held Liable for Failing to Prepare Their Cars for Winter Driving?

removing ice from windshieldWinter can be a dangerous time to drive, as you can encounter snowy or icy conditions that make it harder to avoid a collision.

Drivers involved in winter car crashes may say there was nothing that they could do to avoid a crash. This might not always be true, though. Their negligence may have contributed to the crash. For example, they may have been speeding or violating the other driver’s right of way with snow or ice just making it worse.

In some cases, the at-fault driver’s car was not prepared for winter weather. For example, if the at-fault driver was driving on underinflated tires or had old windshield wipers. If you get injured in a crash during the wintertime and are unsure about your legal options, give us a call. The initial legal consultation with a Bloomington-based auto accident lawyer is free and comes with no obligation to hire our firm. We also charge no upfront fees.

TSR Injury Law. Call today: (612) TSR-TIME.

Preparing Cars for Winter Driving

Driving during the winter can be dangerous for many reasons. For example, your tires could lose traction on an icy roadway, causing you to lose control and crash into another vehicle or a fixed object.

That is why drivers need to make sure their vehicles are prepared before they go out on the road. Some of the vehicle components they need to check include the following:


Drivers need to make sure their tires are fully inflated. Underinflated tires can make it harder to control a vehicle. If your tires remain underinflated for too long, it could reduce their lifespan.

Overinflated tires are at higher risk for a blowout. This can be incredibly dangerous no matter what time of year. A tire blowout on a snowy or icy road could be even more dangerous.

You can inflate your tires yourself or take your car to a qualified mechanic to do it for you. If you go to a mechanic who regularly works on your car, he or she may inflate your tires for free. A mechanic can also inspect the treads on your tires to ensure they are not too worn down.

If you regularly encounter heavy snow or slippery roads, you should switch to snow tires.

Windshield Wipers

Another reasonable step drivers can take to prepare their cars for winter is making sure their windshield wipers are not too worn down. Old windshield wipers will not clear away snow or rain effectively, impairing visibility. This could make a crash much more likely to occur.

You can buy new windshield wipers or buy a set of winter windshield wiper blades. These are designed to clear away snow and prevent snow or ice from getting stuck on the blade.

Headlights and Taillights

Drivers need to make sure their headlights and taillights work. If your headlights do not work, or they do not work as well as they should, your visibility may be impaired. Ensuring the bulbs work and cleaning the lenses is also important.

Engine Oil

The oil in your engine loses viscosity in colder temperatures. This means your engine might not be properly lubricated. This could lead to a breakdown. This could happen at the wrong time, such as while your car is in motion which could cause a crash

You could switch to a winter-grade oil to help your engine continue to function at a high level.

Removing Snow or Ice From Your Vehicle

Drivers need to remove snow and ice from their vehicles before driving. Otherwise, snow or ice could fall off and cause another driver to get into a crash. Sometimes the crash that occurs only involves one vehicle. For example, ice may cause another driver to veer off the road and hit a tree or road sign. That said, another driver would still be liable for damages from the crash.

Building a Case for Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Drivers could be held liable for a crash that resulted from poor maintenance of their vehicle. Your lawyer needs to prove the crash was avoidable had the at-fault driver done a better job of maintaining his or her vehicle.

Your lawyer needs to thoroughly investigate the crash to determine what happened and work backward from that. For example, if the victim was rear-ended, your attorney must figure out what happened. Often the rear driver in a rear-end crash was distracted, speeding or following the lead vehicle too closely.

However, sometimes a rear-end crash is due to old tires that could not gain enough traction on the road. This may be more likely to happen in the winter because of ice or snow on the road, or because tires were old or underinflated. One way to think about it is the weather combined with the driver’s negligence is the reason for the crash. However, the weather cannot be held liable for a crash.

Pictures of the at-fault driver’s tires may be enough to show they were old and should have been replaced. For example, pictures may show the treads were worn down to an unsafe level. The sidewalls of tires also say when the tires were made. If the tires were old, it may be easier to assign fault to the driver for not replacing the tires.

If the lead driver’s broken taillights caused the crash, your lawyer may look to see if the lead driver had been cited by police for a broken taillight. If the driver had been cited, this is proof he or she knew about the problem and did not get it fixed. If a driver legitimately did not know about the broken taillight, it may be harder to assign fault to him or her. That said, it would be difficult for the at-fault driver to prove he or she did not know.

Contact Us Today to Discuss Your Crash

If you were injured because of another driver’s negligence we might be able to assist you in pursuing compensation for your damages.

Our firm takes cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront fees or legal obligations with our services. That means no fees before taking your case and no fees while pursuing compensation.

More than $1 billion recovered. Call today: (612) TSR-TIME.

Filing a Claim for a Crash Caused by a Tire Blowout

blown out tire on road during dayDrivers have an obligation to ensure their vehicles are safe to operate. That means they need to ensure their vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk of a crash.

That is why drivers need to make sure their tires are in good condition. Over or underinflated tires increase the risk of a blowout that could easily result in a crash. When a tire blows out, a vehicle becomes much more difficult to control.

Drivers need to make sure their tires are properly inflated and replace old tires when they become too worn down. Worn down tires can blow out, but drivers can also easily lose control of their vehicle because the tires cannot gain traction on the road.  Worn tread is worse in rain or snow conditions.

Below, we discuss tire blowout collisions, including liability and filing a claim if you were a victim of one of these crashes. Victims of these crashes should discuss the situation with a licensed attorney as insurance companies are always looking to underpay or deny claims.

What Causes a Tire Blowout Crash?

There are various reasons why a tire may blow out. Sometimes a tire blowout is not the driver’s fault. For example, a tire could get punctured by a rock or nail. As air slowly drains from the tire and the driver accelerates to a high speed, pressure can build up in the tire.

Blowouts can also be caused by:

Old Tires

Tires wear down over time, preventing them from expanding and contracting as they should because of temperature or pressure changes. Older tires can get more easily damaged and blow out.


If a vehicle is carrying too much weight, it puts tremendous pressure on tires. Weight includes cargo and passengers. Worn tires are also at much greater risk from an overloaded vehicle.


Sometimes a pothole can damage a tire so severely that it blows out. A pothole can cause a tire to expand or contract quickly.

Impact Damage

If you run over debris, a tire could blow out a mile or two later. The damage could be much worse than you initially thought.

Defective Tires

There may be a design or manufacturing flaw with the tire that causes it to break down. The tread can separate from the rest of the tire and cause a blowout.

What Happens When a Tire Blows Out?

The driver of a car that suffered a tire blowout will likely hear a loud pop when it happens. Your vehicle is likely to slow down a little as the blown tire is not going to continue rolling like normal. The vehicle is likely to pull toward the side with the blown tire, making the vehicle harder to control.

If your vehicle is carrying a lot of weight, it may be particularly difficult to gain control. It may be much more difficult to get the vehicle safely off the road.

These are all reasons why vehicles with blown tires are often involved in crashes. Drivers often panic and try to slam on the brakes, which is the worst thing you can do.

When the blowout occurs while the vehicle is traveling at high speed, the crash could involve multiple vehicles as other drivers may not be able to avoid a collision.

Liability for a Tire Blowout Collision

Often, the driver of the car that suffered the blowout bears fault for the crash that results. The driver may have over or underinflated the tire, left an old tire on the car or not dealt with damage to the tire, such as from a nail.

In some cases, the repair shop that worked on the vehicle could bear fault – maybe they over or underinflated the tires or failed to notify you the tires were old. Mechanics may be liable for failing to do proper repairs or at least notify the driver of a problem that could be a safety issue.

Other drivers may be at fault for negligence during the collision. For example, if you were in a multi-vehicle crash, another driver may have been distracted, speeding or failed to stay in his or her lane. If multiple parties are at fault, liability would be shared among those parties.

If the tire blowout was a result of manufacturer negligence, they may be held liable for your damages.

Fortunately, Minnesota drivers can seek compensation for medical bills and some other damages from their no-fault insurance. That means you can recover compensation no matter who is at fault.

Fault would be an issue in a claim against another driver’s liability insurance, which means your lawyer would need to prove another party caused your damages through negligence. Proving fault for a blown tire crash can be complicated, which is why you should strongly consider working with a lawyer. At TSR, there are no upfront fees for our services, and we do not collect our fees unless you get compensation.

Preventing a Tire Blowout

Preventing a blowout is mostly about doing routine maintenance on your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will say the proper pressure for the front and rear tires and the maintenance schedule should tell you when tires should be rotated.

Take the car to a mechanic you trust to determine when tires are too worn down to drive on. That way you know when tires should be replaced.

Use caution in areas where there may be a lot of debris, such as near a construction site. If you hit debris or a pothole, you may want to pull over and check your tires. You should also slow down to lessen the impact of debris on your tires.

Call TSR Injury Law Today to Discuss Your Crash

Have you been injured in a crash caused by another driver?

Our Bloomington car crash lawyers are ready to discuss your potential legal options in a free consultation. We have assisted many crash victims and have obtained millions on their behalf. We know this is a difficult time for you and how important it is to secure compensation for damages.

Give us a call today. We are ready to help. (612) TSR-TIME