Drivers must prepare for winter weather conditions
Philadelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania already experienced the first dose of winter weather, though it wasn't much. Other areas received several inches (and even a couple of feet) of snow during the most recent storm. While Philly didn't get hit as hard, the light snow and wintry mix, no doubt, made for risky traveling.
What we do know for certain is: the winter driving season is here. When winter weather strikes, drivers should be prepared to either slow down or get off the road.
- According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 1,300 people die in crashes on roads riddled with snow, slush, and ice each year in the United States. Another 116,800 are injured.
- Nearly 900 people die in crashes during snowfall or sleet each year. Another 76,000 are injured.
Essential winter driving safety tips
An article in Business Insider discusses ways drivers can mitigate the risk of a crash during the winter season. Drivers can prepare for dangerous winter weather by following these safety procedures:
- Reduce speed and maintain a safe following distance. Nobody can predict when they will hit a patch of snow or black ice. This is especially true when navigating a curve. Drivers can reduce the risk of a crash and have time to regain control of their cars simply by traveling at a speed that is safe and prudent for conditions and not following too close behind another car.
- Test road conditions in a safe area. Before starting a trip, it's best for drivers to first test out the road conditions in areas they are familiar with (such as their neighborhood, place of employment, or other low-traffic area). This way, drivers can plan ahead and determine whether or not conditions are safe to drive in.
- Proper vehicle maintenance. Failed car batteries can cause cars to break down during winter weather conditions. Worn out tires or improper tire inflation can cause spinouts and skidding (both of which lead to serious crashes).
- Maintaining a safe driving speed. It's important for drivers to reduce their speed during winter weather conditions, but not too much. Drivers who travel at unreasonably slow speeds can either create swerving hazards for other drivers or create the risk of rear-end collisions and pileups.
- Knowing how to handle spinouts. When drivers begin to spin out, they can prevent a bad situation from turning worse. Steer towards the nearest escape route and away from other cars or obstacles in the road.
- Keeping a clear view of the road. Drivers should ensure that their windshields and headlights are clear of snow, ice, frost, and fog. Heating systems should be in proper working order and wiper fluid reservoirs should be filled. Also, wiper blades and headlights should be in good condition.
- Allowing extra time. Drivers should give themselves adequate time to warm up their cars and safely get to their destinations. Patience is key.
- Stocking up on safety materials. Aside from ice scrapers, drivers should be equipped with an extra jacket, blanket, gloves, reflectors, and tools to make car repairs or get a vehicle unstuck.
- Stopping only when it's necessary. Drivers should never stop during winter weather conditions unless it's absolutely necessary. Hills can be especially dangerous to stop on. According to AAA, it can be very difficult to accelerate once a driver has stopped on a snowy or icy hill.
If you or a loved one is hurt in a crash because another driver failed to act responsibly during winter weather conditions, get an experienced legal team on your side. The car accident attorneys at Villari, Brandes & Gionnone, P.C. will take the time to review your claim, investigate the cause of your crash, and pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Our law offices are based in Conshohocken and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Marlton, New Jersey. Contact us online to schedule your free, initial consultation.