We all know that cold and icy conditions can make car accidents more likely. And snow and ice are hard to avoid. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 70% of the nation's roads are in areas where winter conditions happen annually. Every year, 24% of weather-related accidents happen on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement, and 15% happen during snow or sleet. In Rhode Island, we all experience winter roadways every year. But did you know that cold and icy weather can make injuries sustained in an accident worse?
Winter Driving Conditions
While we all know that winter road conditions are generally more dangerous, there are certain conditions that you should watch out for on winter roads. Dangerous winter conditions include:
- Reduced Visibility:Blowing or drifting snow, sleet, and wind can reduce visibility on Rhode Island roads in the winter. Before driving, make sure your windshield, windows, and mirrors are free of ice and use your headlights when visibility is low.
- Lower Tire Pressure:Many drivers don't realize that colder air means lower tire pressure. If your tires aren't at the optimum pressure, it can take your car longer to stop and make it more likely that you'll end up in an accident.
- Icy Roads:Icy roads are an obvious hazard, but sometimes you can't see the ice. In Rhode Island, black ice can be nearly invisible. To avoid accidents, slow down. If your car doesn't have ABS, then remember to pump the brakes as you slow and stop.
- Bridges and Exit Ramps:Bridges and exit ramps are more likely to stay cold and icy even as the temperature warms. Air passes beneath these areas, keeping the road temperature lower. Proceed with caution.
If you end up in an unavoidable accident, winter weather conditions can increase an accident's severity and any possible injuries. With clear, warm roads, it's much easier to stop quickly and steer to the side of the road, even after an accident. But when visibility is low, roads are slick, and your tire pressure is lower from cold air, any car involved in an accident is more likely to slide across the road, hit additional cars, and injure more people. For example, if someone sideswipes you on the interstate when their car slides out of control on black ice, your vehicle is more likely to slide into oncoming traffic, and cars behind you, unable to stop, are more likely to hit you.
If you or someone you love were injured in a winter car accident, you need to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney. Inman & Tourgee can help. Give us a call at 401-823-9200 or contact us online to set up a consultation.