As a child, I loved winter weather. Growing up in upstate New York, I looked forward to a fresh snowfall
(nearly every winter morning) and the fluffy playground it created for skiing, sledding and snowball wars. As an adult (and car accident lawyer extraordinaire), I dread winter weather largely because of the havoc it wrecks on our roadways.
Statistically, January is the most dangerous month on the road for driving. In 2014, there were over 30,000 motor vehicle accidents on Ohio’s roads. That is significantly more than any other month. Not surprisingly, more persons were injured in car accidents during this month as well. Drivers not using proper caution in bad winter weather is certainly a major factor in this statistic. Remember, the law requires you to drive your vehicle at a speed and in a manner safe for the conditions! Driving the speed limit is often not safe in icy conditions. Still, persons often barrel down the interstate at 55 mph in the middle of a major snowstorm. All the normal dangers of the road are magnified in bad weather and, as such, you must take extra precautions this time of year.
As an attorney who often represents persons who have been injured in car accidents, and having grown up in the snow-belt, I have found some general rules to be helpful. Following these tips may help you avoid needing a car accident lawyer such as myself:
Make sure your vehicle is “winter ready.” Tires should be properly inflated; have plenty of washer fluid in its reservoir; wiper blades should be in good repair; have a nearly full tank of gas; and brush your car off completely of snow, including your headlights and taillights. This is especially important when trying to avoid a car accident.
Have some basic supplies in your car in case you get stuck. A good snowbrush with an ice scraper is a must. Having extra washer fluid is a good idea too. If the weather is bad, it could take a while for help to reach you. Because of this, consider having a blanket, water and non-perishable food such as packaged peanuts and granola bars to hold you over.
Avoid distractions and be extra vigilant. Other drivers may not be as careful as you and you will need extra time to react to a problem. Stay off the phone. Don’t play with the radio. Don’t eat while you are driving. A study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that those who eat and drive increase the odds of a car accident by 80%!
Accelerate and brake slowly. Slamming on your gas or brake pedal is often a recipe for trouble.
Do not use cruise control during bad weather if you want to avoid a car accident.
Give other vehicles more space than you would during normal driving conditions. Give even wider berths to snow plows and emergency vehicles.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are driving in the snow and you are late. If you’re late, be late! Better to get to your destination safely then be involved in a serious car accident.
Stay home! If the weather is bad and you don’t need to be somewhere important, it’s better just to stay off the roads altogether. This is especially true if you lack confidence or experience driving in the ice and snow.
I have been the car accident lawyer for hundreds of persons over the years who were injured in car crashes that occurred in snowy conditions. A large number of those crashes would have been avoided had these basic rules been followed.
Snow doesn’t have to be something to dread and it can be enjoyed by adults as well as kids. Just be careful on the roadways and use some common sense. You’re much less likely to be a statistic that way.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident and would like representation from an experienced car accident lawyer, please contact the Law Offices of Blake R. Maislin, LLC at (513, 859 or 937) 444-4444!