It’s that time of the year. Winter weather driving. The snow may be pretty, but it can be dangerous during your morning and evening commutes.
Snow, slush and icy roads cause out-of-the-ordinary challenges for drivers and are involved in nearly one in four weather-related vehicle crashes, according to the US Department of Transportation. These conditions can make it harder for drivers to see, slow down and stop – all factors that can increase the chances of an accident.
Despite your best efforts to prepare for winter driving, you may still find yourself in a multi-car accident. Weather-related accidents can involve multiple vehicles and cause severe injuries and property damages, all of which can create a highly complex legal situation. Who is to blame? Whose insurance company or companies should pay? What role did the weather play and how do you compensate for that?
These are questions and issues that Casey Law Offices can help you sort out.
Hopefully, you won’t need our services and that you will remain safe on the roads this winter. Prepared drivers are better equipped to handle the challenges of driving in dangerous conditions and are more likely to steer clear of accidents.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers these tips for travel in winter weather:
- Plan your trip, selecting both primary and alternate routes.
- Let someone know your travel routes and itinerary so that, if you don't arrive on time, officials will know where to search for you.
- Call 511 or visit 511wi.gov for real-time traveler information,
including winter road conditions.
- Check the latest weather information on your radio.
- Try not to travel alone - two or three people are preferable.
- Travel in convoy (with another vehicle) if possible.
- Drive carefully and defensively. Watch for ice patches on bridges and overpasses.
- Take note of your odometer and coordinate it with exit numbers, mileposts, or crossroads so if you are in a crash or slide off road you'll better be able to identify where you are and summon law enforcement officers, rescue workers, or tow truck operators more quickly to your location.
- If a storm begins to be too much for you to handle, seek refuge immediately.
- If your car should become disabled, stay with the vehicle and continue to run the engine and heater for short intervals. Be sure to "crack" a window in the car to avoid carbon monoxide build up.
It is a good idea to keep a winter driving survival kit in your car during the cold months. Included should be an ice scraper, a small snow shovel, and sand or salt. It’s also wise to check your tires to ensure they have solid tread and have appropriate air pressure. Your gas tank should be at least half full so you can run your engine and stay warm if you get stranded or stuck. Keep your windshield wipers in good condition, replacing wipers that don’t work well. And ensure you have plenty of windshield fluid, including an extra bottle in the car at all times.
If you do venture out or are unexpectedly caught in a snowstorm and encounter problems, if your car is safely out of harm’s way, stay in your car and wait for help. You can run the car heater to keep warm for 10 minutes every hour, but make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow. There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if snow blocks the exhaust and enables the deadly gas to build up in your car. Open your window slightly to help prevent any buildup.
Remember, driving in winter weather can be challenging, even for experienced drivers. Slowing down, allowing increased time to come to a stop, wearing your seatbelt, devoting your full attention to the road and being aware of changing conditions can help you drive more safely. If your travel route takes you into remote areas with limited cell phone coverage, consider informing the third party of your travel plans that include your journey and when you plan to arrive. This way, if you are overdue, first responders will know where to start looking. If you’re unsure whether it is safe to drive, consider waiting until the roads improve.
Despite your best attempts to steer clear of car accidents, they can and do happen. If you are injured in a crash, here are some tips to remember:
- Always seek medical attention first.
Waiting to return home is a mistake, you won’t know the full extent of an injury until you are seen by a medical professional.
- Keep documentation of your treatment so you can let your insurance company know about the accident.
- Be sure to keep receipts of rental cars or hotel stays or any other expenses that are incurred as a result of the accident.
- Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company until you have talked to your attorney.
- Don’t provide any statements about the accident to the other driver’s insurance company.
- Do talk to your attorney to discuss your options for recouping injury costs and damages.
And if you don’t have an attorney, please call the Casey Law Offices at 414.272.3776.
We are here to help.At Casey Law Offices, S.C., we focus exclusively on prosecuting injury claims to ensure negligent individuals and businesses are held responsible for irresponsible behavior resulting in injury so those who are harmed are fairly compensated. We represent Wisconsinites who have suffered a variety of injuries, including those related to car accidents due to irresponsible drivers.