Winter weather is known to create dangerous roadway conditions that anyone, including highly experienced motorists, can have difficulties driving through. Data from the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that the accidents associated with ice and snow cause over 1,300 deaths each year and more than 116,800 injuries per year.
If you have been injured in a winter weather-related accident, you should contact our car accident attorneys immediately, if possible. We will start by investigating the claim to identify the legal options you can rely upon to recover compensation for the injuries. Most vehicle accidents within Michigan are associated with unfavorable weather conditions such as ice and snow. However, most accidents result from a combination of reckless driving and bad weather conditions. Here are the main causes of snowy accidents in Michigan.
Driving Very Fast in Icy or Snowy Conditions
Speeding is proven dangerous, but after weather conditions have reduced the visibility or made the roadways slick, it is more dangerous. It is therefore important you drive cautiously and slowly. In some cases, you should drive below the advised speed limits. According to the FHWA, you should reduce your speed by around 30-40 percent when the urban roadway is slushy, icy or snowy. When driving on a freeway, reduce the speed by around 3-13 percent (in case of light snow) and around 5-40 percent (during heavy snow).
Reduced Visibility and Unclear Windows
Winter weather, snow, ice, sleet, and the freezing rain can reduce your visibility when driving – if it sticks to the windows of your vehicle. To remain safe during the cold months, clear the windows of this wintry mix for improved visibility. Use your car’s defroster because it will help keep the windshield and windows clear when on the road.
Rushing To Reach Destination
When driving in harsh winter weather, you should not rush to reach your destination. Some unfavorable conditions like slow-traveling motorists and slick roadways could delay your travels. Take your time when entering dangerous intersections or red/stop lights. These areas can be extremely dangerous given the conditions and the fact that you are in a hurry. Be patient throughout the journey.
Tailgaiting or Following Other Vehicles Closely
Did you know that your vehicle requires more space to stop when the road is snowy or icy? That is the reality. Therefore, when driving in harsh winter weather, you should allow yourself more space – not the standard 3-4 seconds – between your car and that in front of you to avoid a rear-end accident collision. For your safety and that of others, the AAA recommends an 8-10 seconds distance between vehicles in winter weather. By maintaining such distance, you will never rear-end another vehicle.
Failure To Stop and Pull Over Safely
If you have vehicle troubles or the winter conditions have limited the visibility, you should avoid stopping on the travel lane and make sure you find an ultra-safe stopping area. Instead, move your vehicle to the roadside and wait for the visibility to improve and start driving again. Sometimes this isn’t enough. If you are able, try to get off the highway completely where you have less risk of being hit due to poor visibility. With reduced visibility, other drivers will not see you clearly and might rear-end into your car.
Unnecessary Traveling in Unsafe Conditions
When the road and weather conditions are unfavorable, you should skip the unnecessary travel and reschedule any unimportant or minor trips. In case of bad weather, it is always good you avoid the travel altogether and remain in the safety and warmth of your home.
Not Allowing Additional Braking Time
We have already mentioned that you should allow yourself additional time when stopping your car in bad weather conditions. Mostly, vehicles that brake hard or very fast when traveling on slick roadways are at a higher risk of drifting or fishtailing. To avoid that, you should pump the brakes if you do not have anti-lock brakes. Do not slam them quickly unless you are sure you have anti-lock brakes installed. This type of reckless driving very often causes rear-end accidents where there are injuries to your back, spine, soft-tissues, traumatic brain injuries and even other passengers in the vehicle. For your safety, know how your car’s brake system responds when applied quickly and how it works. If your car has anti-lock brakes, you will have to press them harder when need to stop faster arise.
Accelerating Too Quickly For The Conditions
A car that accelerates very fast will not have adequate traction on the highway. For your safety, accelerate your car slower than you usually do in good weather conditions. Apply the gas slowly and take you time getting up to speed. It will keep you and all the other drivers on the road safer.
Contact Our Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Today
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in injuries, you should contact our Michigan car accident attorneys right away. They will fight to protect your rights. Our attorneys will investigate your claims to know whether you can pursue legal action against the driver at fault and recover compensation. We operate on a contingency fee basis and therefore we will only collect fees after we have recovered your compensation. To remain safe in winter weather, drive cautiously and remain patient throughout the journey 🙂