WATCH OUT! WINTER WEATHER MIX CAN ATTRIBUTE TO MAJOR CAUSES OF VEHICLE CRASHES AND CAR ACCIDENTS
Road crews in Western Kentucky rang in the first weeks of 2017 by treating slick spots on several roadways. Winter months are here and may bring many communities on high alert for adverse weather that can create icy or snow covered, and wet roadways in the weeks to come.
On average, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says nearly 6,000 people are killed and over 445,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year. An estimated 700 of those crash deaths occur in Kentucky.
WINTER WEATHER DRIVING TIPS TO STAY SAFE
The most effective way to avoid an accident in adverse winter weather is to delay your travel and wait until conditions improve to drive. If you do have to travel, follow these tips to keep yourself, passengers, and other drivers safe.
- Avoid distractions. Dangerous weather condition crashes too often occur because the driver is distracted. The most influential distraction we see today is using your electronics and cell phones to talk or send messages while operating a vehicle. Drowsiness, limiting the number of passengers and activity in a vehicle, avoiding eating while driving, and saving any multitasking for off the road can also increase your risk of become distracted while driving.
- Prepare your vehicle. Clear windows, rooftops, taillights and headlights of accumulated snow, ice, mud or dirt before leaving for your destination. Fill your gas tank and be sure your windshield washer fluid includes antifreeze. Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
- Slow your driving down. Reduce your speed about 10 miles per hour below the speed limit, or more until you’re comfortable. Remember to slow down a couple of hundred feet before stop signs and lights.
- Leave room. It’s important to increase your distance between other vehicles in snowy or icy conditions. Leave plenty of room to stop in case other drivers brake suddenly or you lose control of your own vehicle.
- Easy on the brakes, easy on the gas. Hopefully you won’t have to slow down too quickly while driving in tricky road conditions, but if you do, try lightly pumping your brakes. This reduces your chance of locking your tires and spinning out of control. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), press and hold the brake down as far as possible in an emergency to prevent the wheels from locking, and allowing you to steer away from a possible collision. Refrain from accelerating too fast for similar reasons.
- Don’t brake during a turn. Slowly turn the steering wheel and lightly lay on the brakes before you make the turn. Coast through the turn with your foot off the brake and off the gas.
- Turn into a skid. Avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control. Remain calm, take your foot off the brake and the gas pedal, and turn the car in the direction the car is skidding.
- Avoid cruise control. Most cars feature cruise control. This feature works great in dry conditions, but when used in wet or snowy conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle can increase.
- Beware of black ice. Black ice tends to form where the sun can’t hit, and at areas where water drains. Use caution when traveling on bridges, overpasses or off ramps. If driving at night, watch for headlights to reflect off the road.
Keep yourself and passengers safe on the road this year. Nothing can make up for the loss of loved one in a fatal car accident, or a lifelong injury that could have been prevented by following simple tips for safer adverse weather driving.
Rhoads & Rhoads has been protecting the rights of the injured throughout Western Kentucky for over 39 years. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, our team is available to help you through this difficult time and get you the financial recovery you deserve.
Call us at 888-709-9329 or contact us by e-mail to schedule an appointment with one of our Madisonville or Owensboro personal injury attorneys.