How Poor Vehicle Maintenance Leads to Traffic Accidents
Like all machinery, to function properly, motor vehicles need regular maintenance. Routine maintenance not only extends the life of the vehicle, but also helps keep drivers, passengers, and others on the roadways safe. Failure to maintain a vehicle in safe working order can lead to accidents and injuries. Car owners who fail to inspect their vehicles and perform needed maintenance and repairs may be liable for a crash.
How Can Poor Vehicle Maintenance Lead to a Collision?
Poorly maintained vehicles can lead to accidents in several ways. The following are common problems with vehicles that can lead to collisions:
- Burned out headlights or turn signals: When headlights are burned out, other drivers cannot see the vehicle easily in the dark and are more likely to collide with it. Drivers use turn signals to let other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians know their intentions. When they burn out and drivers are unable to signal, it can contribute to a crash.
- Defective brakes: Good brakes make it possible to stop quickly to avoid a collision. Poorly functioning brakes are a major contributing factor to rear-end crashes. Brakes may fail for a variety of reasons, including worn out brake pads or rotors, worn brake lines, or malfunctioning anti-lock brake systems.
- Worn, damaged, or improperly inflated tires: It is important to inspect tires regularly and replace them as needed. Friction causes tires to lose tread over time, reducing their grip on the road. Bald tires can make it harder to stop to avoid a collision or cause the car to skid in icy road conditions and slam into another vehicle. Tires that are worn or have sidewall damage can blow out, potentially causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and careen into traffic.
- Worn out windshield wiper blades: Replacing the wiper blades is a standard part of routine vehicle maintenance. The wipers clear rain, snow, dirt, and debris from the windshield, making it possible for the driver to see the road. When the blades become frayed and damaged, they are less effective in cleaning the windshield, which can lead to impaired vision and resulting accidents.
- Power steering problems: Most cars today have power steering, which makes it easier to turn the wheels and steer the vehicle. When the power steering system goes out, the vehicle suddenly becomes considerably more difficult to turn and maneuver. Power steering systems can fail because of contaminated power steering fluid, too much or too little fluid, a broken belt, a leaky hose, or a damaged pump. It is important to routinely check fluid levels, check for leaks or a frayed or broken belt, and have the power steering system flushed when the fluid is becoming dirty.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Poor Vehicle Maintenance?
If poor maintenance of a vehicle causes a crash, the owner of the vehicle may be held responsible. This is true whether it is a private owner, a business, or a government entity. In the case of a defective part that caused a crash, such as a tire with defective tread that blows out, the manufacturer of the defective part may be held liable in a product liability claim.
What to Do After a Crash Caused by Poor Vehicle Maintenance?
If you have been hurt in an accident involving someone else’s poorly maintained vehicle, the first thing to do is to get any needed emergency medical attention for your injuries. If you are able, take photos of the accident site and vehicles to help document any faulty equipment that may have contributed to the crash. For your best chance of recovering full and fair compensation, speak with an Omaha car accident lawyer. Call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation.
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