Winter weather accidents are perhaps some of the worst accidents to witness. In many cases, drivers lose control of their 4000 pound vehicles as they slide down the road into guardrails, other vehicles, or worse, pedestrians. Impaired drivers leaving holiday parties pose a serious threat to the safety of other drivers on the road when operating vehicle during winter weather conditions. In addition, there are more big rig trucks on the roads making deliveries to homes and businesses. This increase in traffic on the road, coupled with winter weather conditions, can cause accidents on roads if drivers do not exercise caution.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) approximately 1.25 million weather-related crashes occur each year. The FHA has identified a number of reasons why weather has a significant impact on roads:
- Low visibility (from fog or precipitation)
- Slippery road conditions
- Lane obstructions
- Pavement damage
Winter weather conditions only add to the turmoil. Black ice patches can form. Snowfall can dramatically slow town traffic flow, causing stress and irritation in drivers. Failure to properly prepare for snowfall can cause cities and towns to shut down. Failure to remove snow from the ground in a timely fashion can cause potholes. AAA has recommended the following tips for driving on long road trips during the winter:
- Don’t drive when you’re tired or fatigued
- Ensure your tires are properly inflated and have good tread
- Avoid using cruise control during winter weather conditions
- Avoid using your parking break in cold, rainy, or snowy weather
- Keep a gas container in your trunk
- Ensure your vehicle is capable of enduring a long trip (oil change, fluids refreshed, etc.)
- Pack gloves, a blanket, and a brightly colored cloth (to signal distress) in the event you become stranded.
- Drive slowly and stay alert to any local weather changes
- Avoid cellphone use while driving and use a car mount for your phone if you use it for GPS.
- Know your car and its capabilities.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you are traveling to an unknown area, be sure to pre plan routes and familiarize yourself with the types of roads you will be driving on. Road trips during the winter can be fun, but accidents are not. The headache of dealing with insurance companies while in a remote location far from home could very likely ruin the road trip. If you are traveling in a different state, you may also have to deal with the laws of the local jurisdiction.