Bad weather can make the roads an unsafe place to be, and car accident lawyers in Hartford know that about 24 percent of the car accidents in the United States are caused by weather-related factors. Just this year, a single storm caused more than 80 crashes throughout Hartford and the rest of Connecticut, as reported by CBS Connecticut. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) estimates that about 629,000 people annually are injured due to weather-related accidents, and that snow and ice together cause about seven percent of the total number of auto accidents in the United States per year.
The data on injuries and deaths due to snow and ice may be frightening, but unfortunately you still need to drive during the winter months. The good news is that there are things that you can do in order to try to stay safe even when weather and road conditions are bad.
Tips for Staying Safe While Driving in the Winter
The Weather Channel and the Connecticut Department of Transportation have provided a long list of safe winter driving tips that motorists should consider before getting in their cars when Old Man Winter makes an appearance:
- Avoid unnecessary trips during bad weather. If it is storming out or it is icy on the roads, see if you can put off your trip until the weather is better. Commuting to work and to run key errands is essential, but there’s no need to risk an accident to go somewhere in your car when you don’t need to.
- Reduce the speed. In many cases, you will actually need to drive below the posted speed limit during bad weather in order to have the best chance of avoiding a collision.
- Don’t pass plows. It is a good idea to wait until the plow and sand truck have come through your area before you venture out onto the roads. When you are traveling and you see a plow or a sand truck don’t try to pass since if you get ahead you will be on untreated (and dangerous) roads.
- Switch to low gear. If you are going up a hill or if you need to get added traction in your vehicle, consider switching to a low gear. If it is icy out, you want to steer clear of using features such as overdrive or cruise control.
- Increase your following distance. Whatever the amount of space you leave between your car and the vehicle in front of you in the summer (which usually should be about four seconds), you should have three times that amount of space between your car and the lead vehicle during the winter months.
- Keep your car clean. You need to keep your windshield and windows clean so you can see other motorists and you should keep your lights clean so that other drivers can more easily see you.
- Know how to deal with anti-lock brakes. If you get into a skid with regular brakes, you want to pump them but you do not want to do this with anti-lock brakes. Instead, apply steady pressure.
While these tips won’t necessarily guarantee you won’t get into an accident, since there are other motorists on the road who could take dangerous risks, they can significantly reduce the chance of you becoming involved in a collision over the winter.
Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli in Hartford today to schedule a free consultation. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.