Car Safety in New Hampshire

Driving Splendor: should be the state’s motto. With over 1000 miles of well-marked highways and scenic routes throughout the entire state, New Hampshire provides some of the best roadways and scenic drives in the country. Of course because of its northern position and mountainous terrain, hazardous driving conditions still exist.

Quality State Roads, Dangerous Winters

Like a lot states in the US, road conditions are worsening in the state of New Hampshire. However the roads that are falling into disrepair are generally those that are “less” travelled, whereas high travelled roads like State and US highways remain a top concern for public maintenance. One of the reasons is the astronomical price increase in fuel and asphalt costs since just over a decade ago. So poorly rated roads that are in much worse shape than well used roads are being left to whither in favor of the road more travelled.

For those that are travelling in urban areas or on Highways, you may not notice these conditions. However in small rural towns and in the state’s byways, roads may not be in the best of shape. If you are travelling these lesser known areas of the state, be sure to carry a quality spare tire, tire change kits and enough supplies should you break down, especially in the winter. Roads in these areas also see less snow removal in the winter and can be quite dangerous after winter storms. Be sure to travel only when the roads are cleared and stay off of them during and right after a snow storm.

Mountains & Valleys

New Hampshire is a state of two contrasts; the “north country” and the flatter southern portion. With less than 5% of the population living in the North Country it can be quite rural at times and presents a rough part of the state. With the highest percentage of timber in the US, New Hampshire’s north is known for logging and paper, but with these in decline, its tourism is picking up steam in this rural portion of the state. With the White Mountain Range taking up the northern part of the state with, they dominate the nature of driving. With mountain passes and beautiful valleys. In the winter these passes and other mountain areas can be quite treacherous to drive in, especially with the possibility of large winter snow storms.

In the southern portion of the state, the land is flatter and most of the population lives in this portion. It also has access to the Ocean, but is the shortest access for a state that has access at only 18 miles of coastline. There are also a unique geographic formation in the south, named in New Hampshire as a Monadnock, which is an isolated peak rising from the plains. With a humid continental climate the state has cold winters and warm humid summers. However this can vary somewhat from the colder northern portion of the state to the warmer southern portion, although this difference is not great. Snow can be a major difference between the mountainous north and the southern region, especially nearer the ocean where weather is moderated a bit by the Ocean.

50% Modified Comparative Fault

New Hampshire is an at fault state with a 50% modified comparative fault rule. In the state you have four options should you be involved in an accident in order to recover damages you suffered. You can always negotiate privately with the other party, yet if injury death or significant property damage occurs this is not suggested. You can claim your own insurance coverage, but if you are not at fault it is better to opt for the next two options to avoid premium raises in your own insurance. You can make a third party claim against the individual thought to be at fault through their insurance coverage. Or you can claim damages through the civil courts system under the state’s Tort law.

The comparative fault rule set at 50% means that if you are also found at fault for the accident, your damages award will be reduced by the amount you are found at fault. So if you are assessed 20% fault because you were speeding, or not wearing a seat belt that contributed to your injuries, your claim would be reduced by that same 20%. However, if you are found 50% or more at fault, you cannot receive any damages in the state.

Multiple Penalties for DWI

New Hampshire’s DWI charges can actually be laid against anyone the officer feels that their driving skills have been hampered or diminished because of the effects of drugs or alcohol’. Whether you test over the 0.8% national limit or not, you can still be charged with DWI in the state.

You will also be assessed multiple penalties in New Hampshire that stack on top of each other from both the administrative DMV side and the courts criminal side. With different penalties generally in each you can be facing several from one DWI conviction. Fines, jail time, license suspensions, impaired driving courses, ignition interlock, reinstatement fees, demerit points and more can all be assessed from this single charge.

3 Stage Demerit System

Underage drivers in New Hampshire face a different penalty system for traffic violations. The violations and their demerits are the same, but those under 18 and those under 21 face license suspension for fewer points over the same time period as those over 21.


Did You Know That…

1. Was the first colony to declare its own government independent to Great Britain.

2. The Old Man of the Mountain no longer exists in its previous form, but the emblem remains for the state.

3. New Hampshire is a Tort “at fault” state.

4. It has the highest summit in the Northeastern US; Mount Washington.

5. Its GDL program technically only has 1 license.

6. With only 18 miles of ocean coastline, it is the shortest of all States with an ocean coastline.

7. Officers can charge you with DWI even if you test under the national limit of 0.8% BAC.

8. Drivers under 18 cannot drive between 1am and 4am unless accompanied by an adult licensed driver.

9. New Hampshire has the highest percentage of timber coverage of any state.

10. The weather station on Mount Washington has recorded the 2nd highest wind speed in the US.

Read also:

Car Insurance in New Hampshire
Driving Schools in New Hampshire
Car Accident Attorneys in New Hampshire