The winter season may bring about warm feelings as the holidays approach, but they also bring with them extreme weather conditions, such as snow, ice, and drizzle, that cars not often encountered in other seasons, It is no wonder, then, that car accidents often increase as the driving conditions worsen.
According to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) data, more than 116,000 Americans are injured and over 1,300 are killed on snowy, slushy or icy pavement every winter. No matter if you find yourself driving to attend a get-together with family or to get gifts for loved ones, you need to follow the rules of the road and prepare for driving in less than ideal conditions. Here are some tips to get you started!
How to Drive Safely in Winter
First, make sure your vehicle is in good condition for the season. You may need to have your vehicle inspected before the weather changes, but if you don’t have a chance, make sure you at least have a well-working car battery, your tires are in working order, and you have had maintenance recently to check your oil levels.
Next, when you are driving in snowy or icy conditions, give yourself plenty of space between your car and the vehicle in front of you to avoid any mishaps. Road conditions can change suddenly; for instance, you will never know you have hit a patch of black ice until it is too late. Being proactive and increasing your distance between other vehicles provides both you and them a safer experience.
Also, be sure to be more vigilant than usual and keep distractions to a minimum. Avoid taking calls as you drive and keep music at a safe volume. Keep headlights on for your safety and the safety of other drivers braving snowy conditions as well. Take extra precautions when encountering steep hills by using the momentum of driving on flatter conditions to carry you up the hill, then decelerate slowly going down to avoid spinning out if you end up hitting ice.
How to Handle a Car Accident in Winter
Even the most careful drivers may experience a car accident when the roads are slick and icy, which is most often the case in winter. If you are in a car accident in winter, follow these steps:
- Avoid saying anything that can be perceived as admitting fault – Regardless if you caused the accident or not, do not say anything that might be interpreted to mean you’re taking the blame for the accident.
- Immediately gather evidence at the scene – If the conditions are safe and you are uninjured, be sure to take photos of the scene of the accident.
- Visit a doctor to have your injuries evaluated – Although you might feel okay after an accident, you should still schedule a visit with your physician to have any injuries documented in the event you pursue an accident injury case. Do not delay this step, as this evidence and treatment for injuries is vital!
- Seek the guidance of an experienced attorney – If your car accident was severe enough and results in serious injuries, total loss of your car, and other factors, your attorney can build a case for a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. It is important to find legal guidance from an experienced attorney who has extensive experience in this area, as he will fight for you in court and stop at nothing to pursue the matter fully.
Contact St. Louis Car Accident Attorney Patrick S. O’Brien
Driving carefully in the winter is something every driver should take seriously, but because the weather conditions are often the worst when snow or ice are present, accidents are bound to happen. If you have been in a car accident, contact St. Louis personal injury attorney Patrick S. O’Brien today to discuss your situation and see how he can help.