As winter rolls in, beware of snow and icy conditions that can lead to car accidents.
If the renowned “Farmers Almanac” is to be believed, the 2014-2015 winter season will be a particularly nasty one for New York and much of the country. The Almanac is predicting that the upper east coast will see below-average temperatures and possibly above-average snowfalls. While that bodes well for winter sport enthusiasts, retail stores selling winter-appropriate gear and ski lodges, it could wreak havoc on the state’s roads, increasing the risk for injury-causing car accidents.
Of course, we all know that snow and ice accumulation on roadways can be hazardous in the colder months, but those are not the only risks we face during that time of the year. Sure, mounds of snow piling up on the highway will make driving more difficult, but did you realize that even a light dusting of snow can result in a glaze of ice over an entire road surface?
When vehicles drive over lightly covered roads, the friction from the tires melts the snow, which can then refreeze once the surface is exposed to the air again. This can result in what is known as “black ice,” a virtually invisible buildup that acts as a barrier and prevents tires from getting traction on the asphalt. Black ice can cause car and truck drivers to lose control even at slow speeds, and recovering from a skid when the entire road surface is covered is nearly impossible.
Even once the snow, sleet, hail or freezing rain stops, they can still make traveling treacherous. Particularly in flat areas, blowing or drifting snow and ice can keep drivers from seeing the edges of the road and staying in their own lane, both of which can lead to accidents should the car hit an unseen hazard or oncoming vehicle.
When you live in an area like New York, you may grow accustomed to winter weather and think nothing of driving in it. As good as your driving may be, though, take care not to become complacent about the inherent dangers of winter travel. Overconfidence in your driving skills and your vehicle’s features (like traction control, all-wheel drive or winter tires) can lead you to make mistakes like going too fast for the weather conditions and not allowing enough following distance behind the car or truck in front of you, both of which can easily result in crashes.
Understanding the risks associated with winter weather, and knowing what to do if you have to drive in snowy or icy conditions, can help keep you safe. That being said, even if you exercise the utmost caution, it is possible that you will be injured in a crash due to someone else negligence or recklessness. If that happens, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at one of the six area locations of the Law Offices of Sobo & Sobo, LLP.