When the weather turns bad, the likelihood of car accidents increases. Whether that’s a heavy summer rain storm or a snowy, icy winter day, there is a greater risk of serious accidents in these nasty conditions.
But when the accident is due to black ice that you couldn’t see, are you still responsible for the accident? Regardless of the conditions, you have a responsibility to drive appropriately based on the road conditions, which means you should slow down, change lanes with greater caution, and allow for more space between your vehicle and others to prevent accidents.
Read on to learn more about winter-related accidents and what you can do to avoid them so that your drive through a winter wonderland doesn’t become a nightmare.
Safe Driving Tips for Snow and Ice
The best advice for avoiding accidents due to snow and ice is to avoid going out when the weather is bad. But if you must go out, here are some ways you can avoid accidents during winter weather:
- Prepare for cold weather by taking appropriate outerwear and extra blankets
- Make sure your vehicle is in good shape and tires are well-inflated
- Never allow your vehicle to get below one-fourth of a tank of gas
- Do not warm up the vehicle in enclosed areas, such as garages or barns
- Avoid using cruise control during any form of precipitation
- Drive slower than you normally would to allow yourself more time to stop if needed
- Be very gentle when accelerating or decelerating
- Allow more space between you and other vehicles to give yourself more time to stop to prevent a collision with another vehicle
- Drive vehicles that you know so that you understand how long it will take you to slow or stop
- Allow inertia to carry you up hills by avoiding heavy acceleration that could lead to handling problems
- Don’t pause while on a hill because you might never reach the top if you lose your momentum
Determining Fault During Snowy or Icy Conditions
When a car accident happens during snow or ice, injuries can be severe because they might be at faster speeds because you can’t slow down in time due to the poor conditions. And once these extreme accidents happen, drivers often wonder who will pay for the damages.
If you were hit by another car that was sliding on the snow or ice, you might be able to file a personal injury claim and a property damage claim on their insurance policy. However, if you are the one who loses control due to slippery conditions, you’re likely the party who is liable for the accident. And if you are liable, it will be your auto insurance policy that has to pay out on the incident, which can mean higher rates for your insurance in the future.
While it might seem unfair that you must foot the bill for an accident you could not avoid due to the road conditions, you have to understand your chances of facing an accident during snow and ice conditions before choosing to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Out of all car accidents, 17 percent occur during winter weather conditions. And an average of 1,836 people die each year from winter weather accidents. If you’ve suffered injuries due to a car accident in winter weather or any road conditions, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
No-Commitment, Free Case Evaluations
Stewart & Stewart law firm is ready to assist you this winter. We’ll evaluate the facts from your car accident to work toward assigning fault and seeking compensation if you were injured. Schedule your free case evaluation now to learn more.