Even the most experienced drivers can have trouble maintaining their vehicles in snowy or icy conditions. Snow and ice contribute to thousands of accidents every year. Despite the inherent dangers of snow and ice, drivers are expected to reduce speeds and take extra precautions to avoid crashes. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a careless driver, reach out to a car accident attorney in Rock Hill from Stewart Law Offices. We can discuss your legal rights during a free and confidential consultation.
Types of Winter Road Accidents
Like North and South Carolinians, 70 percent of the nation’s population live in snowy regions that experience an average of more than five inches of snowfall each year. This means that some of the common types of winter road accidents here include:
- Icy road accidents – Ice reduces pavement friction and makes it more difficult to maneuver a vehicle, which increases crash risk. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that more than 1,300 people are killed, and more than 116,000 people are injured in snow, ice, or slush-related auto accidents each year.
- Snow or sleet accidents – The FHWA reports that 76,000 people are injured and 900 people are killed yearly in auto crashes occurring during snowfall or sleet.
- Wet road accidents – Even rain can have disastrous consequences. A study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society revealed that rain and snow increase the risk of fatal car crashes by 34 percent. The FHWA reports that approximately 24 percent of all weather-related car crashes occur on slushy, icy, or snowy roads.
- Impaired visibility accidents – Heavy snow and sleet can reduce visibility, further increasing the possibility of a crash. When drivers cannot see other vehicles or dividing lines, fatal crashes are more likely.
Safety Tips for Winter Driving
Because approximately 21 percent of over 5.8 million car accidents each year involve weather (according to the FHWA), it is important to know how to safely navigate these conditions. Consider following these safety tips before you get on treacherous roads:
- Check your vehicle – Before the winter season arrives, check your vehicle’s brakes, lights, tires, battery, and other components to ensure they are in good condition for winter weather.
- Clear snow – Give yourself as much visibility as possible by removing snow or ice from your windshield, mirrors, roof, and wipers.
- Slow down – Ice and snow can negatively impact traction, making it take longer to safely brake if you notice a hazard. Adjust your speed to account for inclement weather. Also, avoid using cruise control, which can cause you to go faster than necessary.
- Plan ahead of time – Before heading out, review weather and road conditions. Let someone else know where you are going and plan on getting there. Stay at home, if possible, if the weather is predicted to be unsafe to traverse.
- Carry an emergency kit – Keep emergency and winter-related supplies in your vehicle, including:
- Traffic cones or flares
- Jumper cables
- Extra cell phone charger
- Snow shovel
- Ice scraper
- Cat litter
- Non-perishable food
- Keep a lookout – Snow, sleet, and snow can decrease visibility and impose additional risks. Stay focused on the road in front of you and check for possible areas where black ice may be.
Involved in a Car Accident During Winter Weather? Stewart Law Offices Can Help
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident during winter weather in North or South Carolina, the Carolina car accident lawyers at Stewart Law Offices want to help. We can discuss your options for pursuing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering during a free case review. Contact us today to get started.