Winter Weather and Detroit Car Accidents: What Drivers Need to Know to Stay Safe

It’s no secret that the 2013-2014 winter season shattered records in Detroit, Livonia and across southern Michigan. According to the National Weather Service, more than double the average seasonal snowfall of 44.1 inches was recorded at Detroit’s Metro Airport over the course of the winter season, breaking a century-old record set in 1880. And in addition to recording the fourth-coldest winter on record, January 2014 represented the single snowiest month on record, with the city receiving more than three feet of snow over the course of the month.

While it is likely that the Detroit area will see comparatively less snow this season, it’s critical for all drivers to keep in mind a number of essential winter weather driving safety tips to keep themselves and others free from harm while navigating I-75, West McNichols Road or any other road or highway across southern Michigan. As any law enforcement official or car accident attorney in Detroit knows, all it takes is a coating of snow or ice to make roadways dangerous for all drivers. Yet despite being aware of the dangers roads pose during the winter months, accidents happen all-too-often for otherwise preventable reasons.

The following safety tips were compiled from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA )and AAA and should be taken into consideration by all drivers during the winter months:

  • Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Avoid driving while fatigued, especially on longer trips
  • Increase distance between other vehicles
  • Accelerate and decelerate your vehicle slowly
  • Don’t speed on snow or ice-covered surfaces
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated
  • Never use cruise control or a snowy or icy surface

In addition to the above, OSHA recommends that drivers adhere to the “Three P’s of Safe Winter Driving” when navigating roadways during the winter months:

  • Prepare: Keep your car properly maintained, including brakes, tires and windshield washer fluid. Plan your route before driving and keep safety supplies (such as a flashlight, jumper cables and blankets) in your vehicle.
  • Protect: Use your seat belt at all times. Use child safety seats properly. Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag. If you’re traveling with a child age 12 or under, keep that child in the back seat.
  • Prevent: Avoid speeding, driving under the influence, or other reckless behaviors. Rear-end accidents are common in the winter. Keep your distance from other vehicles and keep your eyes out for pedestrians who may be difficult to see due to the snow.

By following these steps, drivers can dramatically reduce their risk of accident in Detroit and throughout Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties. Reckless behavior behind-the-wheel can turn deadly in a matter of seconds due to winter weather hazards. When a car accident does occur due to another driver’s negligence, injury victims may have the right to collect compensation for their losses, including medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage and long-term expenses such as future medical care and future lost wages, if unable to return to work. If you have been seriously injured, contact the Law Offices of Gary Bloom.

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