The National Weather Service reported that parts of New York State are being hit with near record snowfall. These winter storms make driving extremely hazardous. According to CNN News (11.19.14) one person has already died due to an automobile accident linked to the harsh weather.
The aftermath of a winter storm on an area can have an impact for days, weeks, or even months. Storm effects can include extremely cold temperatures, snow accumulation, and ice.
Driving in harsh winter weather is difficult no matter how experienced a driver is. However, there are a number of proactive measures that drivers can take to help prevent a car accident while driving in the snow and ice.
Motorists should make sure that their vehicles are properly maintained. The headlights, tail lights and turn signals of the car all need to be in working order. Tires need to be in good condition and properly inflated. It’s also important that drivers clear the snow and ice off their cars, including the hood, windows, mirrors, reflectors, lights, roof and trunk. Drivers should also allow sufficient time for the windows to defrost before driving.
When out on the road, motorists need to understand that it will take much longer to stop when the roadway has snow or ice on it. Driving too fast for weather conditions is a common cause of car accidents. Accidents can be avoided if drivers give extra space between their vehicles and other vehicles in front of them. The more space, the more time a driver has to react. Then, if a driver needs to stop, he or she can do so without having to slam on the brakes. Sudden stops may result in the loss of control of the vehicle, which can lead to an accident. When sharing a road with a snowplow, drivers should allow a safe distance of at least five car-lengths in front of their vehicles.
Parents should discuss safe winter driving tips with their teens, especially if their children have little or no experience driving in winter weather conditions. The handling of vehicles changes significantly in the snow and ice and younger drivers may not realize this. Teens need to know how to brake on slippery surfaces and use caution when snowbanks limit the view of oncoming traffic. They also need to be reminded of the dangers of distracted driving.
Sometimes a car accident cannot be prevented even though all drivers involved did the right thing. Individuals who have been involved in a winter car accident should be sure to discuss their potential claims with an experienced and knowledgeable auto accident lawyer.
Regular maintenance and ensuring that a vehicle is ready for winter driving conditions could be the difference between making it home safely and being involved in a serious car crash. One trip to a professional mechanic for a thorough inspection and maintenance could save your life.
The CNN News story cited is “Buffalo area braces for more snow.”