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3 Winter Driving Hazards That Put Motorists at Risk for Car Accidents

Posted on in Car Accident

Schaumburg auto accident personal injury attorney

The winter season is upon us, and as we gear up for another cold winter on our Illinois roadways, it is time to once again prepare for the potential seasonal road hazards that put drivers at risk for car accidents and injuries. Reports from USA Today revealed that between the years 2011 and 2015 alone, an average of nearly 800 people died in America due to winter weather. Everything from snow, rain, sleet, and ice caused such fatalities, and since then, the same seasonal hazards continue to cause both non-fatal and fatal injuries across the map each year around the same time. While these dangers naturally come with the territory when living in cold-weather regions, there are certain precautions drivers can take at the beginning of each winter season to help prevent themselves from becoming a car crash statistic, beginning with awareness.

The Top Three Threats

When it comes to risks on the road during winter weather conditions, here are the top three threats to drivers:

  1. Poorly maintained vehicles - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stresses that regular tune-ups and good vehicle maintenance are essential for year-round driving safety, but not all drivers stay on top of the recommended vehicle maintenance necessary to keep their cars in safe, good working condition out on the roads. One of the biggest maintenance hazards is poor tire care, since tire inflation pressure drops as the temperatures drop. When tire pressure is not checked regularly, when there is insufficient tread, or when tires are more than six years old, the chances for tire problems on the highway during the winter season increase tenfold. Neglecting the care of wiper blades and defrosters can also place drivers at serious risk for a collision, as this threatens visibility while driving, especially in heavy snow.
  2. Distracted driving - The very same distracted driving behaviors that put us at risk every day become infinitely more dangerous while driving in winter weather conditions. Icy roads, poor visibility, and the potential for losing control of the vehicle due to black ice or heavy snow leave zero margin for reckless behaviors such as texting or talking on the phone while driving, impaired driving, or drowsy driving. Distracted driving of any kind severely affects a driver’s coordination, judgment, ability to concentrate, and reaction time. Still, some drivers take these risks despite the danger to everyone’s safety, placing all motorists on the highway in harm’s way. 
  3. Speeding - Driving at slower speeds under winter weather conditions is crucial, as it is much harder to stop or control a car when operating on icy roads or pavement covered with snow. One of the biggest ways drivers place themselves and others at risk during the wintertime is by speeding around or crowding snowplows they encounter on the highway. The NHTSA reminds drivers not to travel next to these vehicles, as they must make wide turns and frequent stops, as well as exit the roadways, which requires them to overlap lanes as they navigate toward the exits. Instead of speeding past snow plows or rushing alongside them, drivers should stay behind them, slow down, and exercise extreme caution when passing them.

Be Emergency Ready

While we cannot control the choices other drivers make on the highway when winter season rolls around, we can take some preventative measures to protect ourselves from potential roadway dangers should we encounter a problem. The NHTSA recommends being emergency ready by stocking your vehicle with warm blankets, flashlights, flares, jumper cables, and other basic supplies like water in case your vehicle breaks down for an extended period of time. It is also recommended that you avoid exerting yourself while stranded and that you keep your vehicle visible to avoid being hit by passing or oncoming traffic.

Contact a Palatine Personal Injury Lawyer

Driving during the winter season can be stressful, especially when you find yourself the victim of a car accident and resulting injury. If you have been hit, the decisions you make following the collision are crucial. Make it a priority to speak to a knowledgeable Arlington Heights car accident attorney who is able to inform you of your rights in a court of law. Let our qualified, dedicated attorneys at Newland & Newland, LLP protect your best interests and guide you in your quest for compensation for your injuries. Call us today at 847-797-8000 and schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/02/06/winter-fatal-car-accidents/97551588/

https://www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-tips

https://www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-safety

 

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