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Winter Driving Tips To Avoid A Weather-Related Car Accident

Indianapolis car accident lawyers explain how to stay safe on the road

Car accidents can happen fast during hazardous winter conditions. Whether it’s snow or ice, sleet or freezing rain, drivers need to be alert at all times and take steps to avoid an accident during the winter.

Unfortunately, even the safest drivers sometimes get hit by another car in winter. Each year, winter storms and hazardous winter weather cause nearly 500,000 accidents and more than 2,000 road deaths nationwide, according to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

So what can drivers do to stay safe? What are some of the suggested steps for avoiding an accident in winter? Below, you can learn more about what you can do to avoid a winter car accident and what you should do if you’re involved in one.

Why do car accidents happen in winter?

Many winter crashes occur because drivers fail to take hazardous conditions seriously. Examples include:

  • Drivers going too fast for hazardous weather conditions, especially if there’s snow or ice on the road.
  • Distracted drivers not paying attention, whether it’s texting while driving, looking up directions or changing the channel on the radio.
  • Drivers who can’t see through the windshield due to snow or ice buildup on the glass.
  • Drivers who illegally pass snowplows or break other traffic laws.
  • Tailgating drivers who follow other vehicles too closely and don’t have enough time or space to stop on a slippery road surface.

Drivers can't control the weather, but they can control their behavior. It's important to drive defensively and to be prepared for hazardous winter weather.

Winter driving safety tips

Our safety advice has been divided into three sections – tips before you hit the road, what to do on the road and suggested steps for long-distance winter trips. Some of these safety tips come from AAA. Others come from years of working with injury victims at our Indiana law firm. We hope you find this advice helpful and seek our help if you’ve been injured in a winter car accident caused by another driver.

Preventative measures before you hit the road

Some of the most important steps you can take to stay safe on the road in winter start before you even hit the road. Such preventative measures include:

  • Keep a cold-weather emergency safety kit in your vehicle. This should include blankets, a windshield scraper, a flashlight, food and water.
  • Make sure your tires have a thick tread that can handle icy or snowy conditions.
  • Consider purchasing snow tires if you regularly drive during hazardous winter conditions.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Have your brakes checked to make sure they’re working properly.
  • Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas in your vehicle at all times.
  • Put de-icer windshield washer fluid that does not freeze in your vehicle. Regular windshield washer fluid can freeze when applied to the windshield.
  • Check your wiper blades and make sure they’re working properly.

Winter driving safety steps on the road

Before you decide to drive during hazardous winter weather, ask yourself if you can delay making the trip until the roads are better. If you don’t have to drive, don’t put yourself and others at risk. Stay home.

If you do have to drive, take the following steps to stay safe on the road:

  • Check your wheel wells and make sure there’s no ice or snow buildup inside them.
  • Adjust your speed on the road for hazardous winter conditions. Drive slower and let other drivers know by putting on your flashers.
  • When accelerating or slowing down, do so gradually. Don’t slam on the brakes or step on the accelerator. That can cause your car to spin out of control or off the road.
  • Leave extra room between your vehicle and other vehicles on the road. Remember, your stopping distance is longer when the road is slippery. Instead of three seconds, you should have five or six seconds of distance between your car and other vehicles.
  • Don’t use cruise control in hazardous winter weather. Your vehicle can slip or slide out of control. You need to be prepared to react right away.
  • When going uphill in hazardous winter weather, go slowly but don’t stop. Doing so could cause your vehicle to slide backward or not make it up the hill.

The bottom line is you should drive smart and drive defensively. Don’t race around during a blizzard or other hazardous weather conditions. Slow down, stay alert and be respectful of other drivers on the road.

Safety tips for long-distance winter trips

If you have to take a longer road trip during the winter, it’s important to be prepared for anything you might encounter on the road. This starts even before your trip:

  • Check the weather forecast for where you’re going before you leave. If the forecast includes extreme winter weather, consider postponing your trip until it’s safe to drive.
  • If you are taking a long-distance road trip during winter, tell someone you are doing so and when you plan to arrive at your destination. That way, if you don’t arrive on time, someone else will know that something might be wrong.
  • If you get stuck in the snow far from home, stay with your vehicle. AAA advises drivers to call the police, stay inside your vehicle and put on your flashers. Trying to walk through a blizzard or other hazardous winter weather can be extremely dangerous.

Winter weather-related accidents wreak havoc on people’s lives. Make sure you take your crash seriously right from the start. Make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side advocating for your legal rights.

Why should I hire a lawyer?

You might think you don’t need an attorney if your winter car accident was caused by another driver. But the reality is many injury claims turn out to be complicated legal cases. Sometimes, it’s the other driver who caused your crash that can be difficult to deal with. Other times, it’s the at-fault driver’s insurance company that does everything it can to deny your accident claim.

If you don’t take a stand for your rights, you could end up having to pay for your accident-related expenses out of your own pocket. Such expenses can include your medical treatment, vehicle repairs, and replacement income while you’re recovering from your crash.

Our Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Hocker Law, LLC can help you every step of the way. We know how the legal system works in Indiana. We know what evidence to look for and how to build strong legal cases. That’s because we’ve been doing this work for decades. When you have our legal team on your side, you can demand the respect and attention your accident rightfully deserves.

Learn more about your legal rights. Contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation with an experienced Indiana car accident attorney you can count on when it matters most. Call (877) 626-7725 or schedule an appointment online. We have three offices conveniently located in Indiana, including two offices in Indianapolis.

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