Driving in the Northeast during the winter months poses many dangers. Here in the Lehigh Valley, we have more than our fair share of highway traffic with I-78 and other business traffic arteries. There is also the temperature, which often fluctuates right around freezing – meaning wet roads can quickly turn to sheets of ice at dusk or when a cold front passes through the region. Other challenges include the general topography of the area and state, which can turn a quick trip to the store or commute home from work into a harrowing ride when there is bad weather.
Our winter driving skills are well-honed from experience driving in snowstorms, trying to stop on black ice, and dealing with fellow drivers who may or may not be as adept at dealing with these conditions. According to AAA, winter storms, inclement weather and sloppy roads lead to nearly a half-million crashes and 2,000 fatalities on U.S. roads. The only sure way to avoid becoming a statistic is to stay off the roads when they are dangerous, but sometimes we do not have a choice.
Drivers cannot control the actions of other drivers, so it is especially important to drive defensively during the winter months. Good driving habits include:
- Slow down to an appropriate speed for the conditions
- Give yourself extra time if you need to be somewhere
- Give yourself double or triple the stopping distance from normal conditions
- Tap your brakes to see if there is slipping
- If you have antilock brakes, let the technology do the work instead of pumping the brakes
- Give semi-trucks a wide berth
- Try to avoid dangerous roads with hills, sharp turns or other hazards
Other things to consider
Unfortunately, others in cars may not be as cautious, and truck drivers may not be able to control their vehicle no matter how conscientious they are. This can lead to a crash that leaves a victim seriously injured or worse. Since insurance may not cover the complete scope of the injuries and damage, it may be necessary for victims of winter driving accidents or their families to contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling these types of matters.
Experienced legal professionals can often get the compensation necessary for the loss of income, property damage and other expenses due to injuries.