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Common Causes of Winter Insurance Rate Increases

December 10, 2012

Winter DrivingWith winter comes slippery roads, poor visibility and simply more dangerous driving conditions. This means that drivers are a higher risk of an accident, and it also means that the odds of getting a ticket are increased in some areas. Slick roads that cause people to accidentally run stop signs or red lights, or slide during turns often result in tickets and accidents. These things result in insurance rate increases. Watch out for these winter dangers that can hurt your premiums.

Slippery Roads Lead to Tickets and Accidents

Every winter driver has had the experience of realizing that the tires are not gripping the road due to ice or snow and the car is sliding. Icy roads, especially those with black ice, are the cause of many winter accidents. Unfortunately, when it comes to fault in an accident road conditions don’t matter. If you lose control of your car in ice and snow and strike another vehicle, you will still be found at fault.

Drivers are expected to take road conditions into consideration and adjust their speed and stopping distances accordingly. This means being aware of the fact that on icy roads it will be harder and take longer to bring your car to a stop.

If you slide on the ice and run a stop sign or a red light, it will be up to the police officer to determine whether or not to give you a ticket. While you could get lucky and find an officer who is lenient, police are well within their rights to write a ticket even if road conditions are a factor. Again, you are expected to be aware of the road conditions and should make allowances when coming to a stop. Tickets and accidents that happen as a result of icy roads will impact your insurance quotes and rates in the same way as any other ticket or accident.

The Ticket Many People Don’t Know About

Driving in dangerous road conditions such as ice, blowing or falling snow, or heavy fog all require that drivers slow down and proceed far more cautiously. There are situations where you should be driving well under the legal speed limit in order to be safe and avoid an accident. Drivers who disregard the road conditions and drive as though the streets were dry may find themselves facing a ticket even though they were technically doing the speed limit.

It is the responsibility of every driver to drive at a speed and in a manner that is safe and appropriate for the weather and the state of the roads. That means that police can hand out tickets to drivers who are being in any way unsafe. Driving too fast for road condition is something a police officer can determine based on his or her judgment. It can catch people by surprise to realize that actions on the road that are perfectly acceptable in clear and dry conditions may be viewed as unsafe in the winter.

You may also receive a ticket for careless driving if you are driving in a manner that the police officer feels shows a lack of care and attention to the current state of the roads. All of these tickets can result in an insurance rate increase, some of them quite serious.

Avoiding Winter Rate Increases

Tickets and accidents that happen as a result of road conditions or as a result of drivers not using the caution that is required to navigate the roads safely are the most common cause of winter insurance rate increases. Avoiding these can seem a little difficult, since there are times when even the best of winter drivers may find themselves sliding on the ice or unable to come to a stop.

Drive much more slowly and cautiously when the roads are icy and allow a much longer stopping distance. When you see a red light or any other reason to stop ahead, start braking early to avoid a potential accident. Be sure to always check road and weather conditions before you leave so that you will know what to expect and be able to navigate the roads safely. When roads are at their worst, consider staying home if it’s not absolutely necessary to go out. Increased insurance rates are not the only danger of winter driving; injuries and worse are common in winter accidents.

Every driver can help to keep the winter roads safer and keep car insurance rates down for everyone by being prepared for and doing their best to avoid the dangers of winter roads.

  • mary

    I completely agree with everything you have mentioned re ‘winter driving’. Kindly though, address the following: I always try to insure, I am leaving much more then the usual acceptable gap between me and the car ahead, if road conditions are precarious. Often I have a vehicle travelling much too close behind me, seemingly not heeding road conditions. What happens in the case, the driver is unable to stop in time, at an intersection, and he/she rear-ends me into the intersection?

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Mary,

    This article may help clarify fault determination in winter car accidents: http://www.insurancehotline.com/how-fault-is-determined-in-a-winter-accident/.

    Hope this helps!

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