With another nor’easter moving into Massachusetts, we should all take a minute or two to review some tips to help try and avoid accidents in the snow and ice. The safest thing to do is stay home and off the roads. But, New Englanders are hardy people and we’re not going to let a nor’easter stop us from our busy lives. If you must be out on the roads and highways in Massachusetts during a snow storm, consider these four tips to help try avoid an accident and being seriously injured or seriously injuring someone else.
Snow and Ice Are Major Causes of Vehicle Crashes and Injuries
As we all know, during and after a snow storm, the snow and ice cause decreased traction with the pavement. This results in the increased risk of skidding, sliding and being involved in a car crash. The snow and ice also result in the reduced ability to maneuver your car, which will affect any attempt to avoid a collision with another vehicle.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that each year 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15% happen during snowfall. Every year, nearly 900 people are killed and nearly 76,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall. The U.S. DOT also reported that over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement annually.
With the snow and ice increasing the probability of being seriously hurt or even killed in a car accident, we should all review some important driving tips to keep ourselves and others on the roads safe.
Snow and Ice Driving Tips to Help Avoid Crashes and Injuries
Tip One: Reduce Speed. It goes without saying that everyone should reduce their speed when driving in snowy conditions. This is true whether it is actually snowing out or the snow has stopped. Heavy snow, like the storm we are expecting, will reduce visibility on the road. Travel lanes can be obstructed by snow accumulation, which decreases the ability of drivers to handle their vehicles and try to avoid an accident. Reducing your speed will help you maintain control of your vehicle in the snow and allow you to do your best to avoid a crash that could cause serious injuries.
Tip Two: Avoid Dangerous Roads During Snow Storms. As stated above, it is always best to stay home and off the highways and roadways during a snow storm, especially a nor’easter or blizzard. But, we understand that sometimes you are forced to go out and drive in a snow storm. If you must go out, it is best to avoid dangerous roads. Usually, the main roads and highways are plowed, sanded and salted well before the back roads. So, if you have to go out, it is best to stick to the main roadways and avoid the less treated and often hilly backroads.
Tip Three: Go Easy on Your Brakes. When driving in snowy or icy conditions, be easy when applying your brakes. Slamming on your brakes in these dangerous conditions often result in uncontrollable sliding. Antilock braking systems (ABS) are on most vehicles and can help avoid sliding in the snow and ice, but even with ABS you can lose control of your car. If you don’t have ABS in your car, you should pump your brakes to help maintain control on dangerous and slippery roads. A sliding vehicle is very hard to control and steering will usually not change the direction of the car. This tip goes hand in hand with Tip One above. Go slow and take it easy on the brakes.
Tip Four: Wear Your Seatbelt. It should go without saying that you should wear your seatbelt anytime you are driving or are a passenger in a vehicle. This is true whether it is a beautiful summer day or a cold and snowy winter day. Statistics establish that wearing your seatbelt can reduce the risk of death to a front seat driver or passenger by 45% and reduce the risk of serious injuries by 50%. The shocking statistics of injuries and deaths from accidents in the snow and ice should be reason enough to wear your seatbelt. So, if you must go out in the snow, make sure you and everyone in the car uses a seatbelt.
Of course, there are circumstances where accidents are unavoidable. But, following these four simple tips should help avoid an accident and lower the chances of being seriously injured if you happen to be involved in a crash.
Speak With An Experienced Injury Attorney Today
If you are seriously injured in an accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses and injuries. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has well over 40 years of helping individuals and families in personal injury cases get the compensation they deserve against negligent or reckless drivers.