winter driving conditions

According to a report by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than 1,300 people die each year in car accidents on slushy, snowy or icy roads and an additional 116,800 people are the victims of a personal injury. About one quarter (24 percent) of car accidents that happen in poor weather conditions are a result of slush, snow or ice. While the slippery conditions play a factor in the rise in car accidents, some could be prevented with driving safety tips.

Reduce your risk of a slushy weather car accident with these top 10 driving safety tips:

  1. Slow down and allow more time to reach your destination. Start by going at least 10 miles per hour under the maximum speed limit as this can help to reduce slipping and skidding while making a turn or braking. Drive especially slowly when going under a bridge or overpass as the shade can create ice in that area and increase the risk spinning out of control. Note: Don’t assume that you are safe to travel at normal speed because you have four-wheel drive or a heavy vehicle; these are often the cars seen flipped or spun-out into a ditch.
  2. Allow a bigger distance when road conditions are slushy. Never tailgate! Leave four car lengths space between you and the vehicle in front of you because that can help give you enough time to brake or re-gain control of your vehicle if it begins to slip. The extra distance will also reduce the risk of spray or ice flying onto your windshield from another car’s tires.
  3. Do everything more slowly and gradually. When accelerating, braking or turning do it slowly and deliberately. Sudden moves will increase your chance of slipping in the slush.
  4. Do some research on how your car’s anti-lock brakes work in slushy road conditions. Your vehicle’s manual should have instructions on the best way for you to brake on slushy and snowy roads.
  5. Be especially cautious when driving near a snowplow. Operators may have to break suddenly to avoid stranded vehicles or other things blocking the road such as fallen branches. Never pass a snowplow that is working next to another snowplow.
  6. If the wind is blowing hard during or after a snowfall, try to avoid driving or pull-over until it stops because blowing snow can cause white-out conditions.
  7. Do not use cruise-control in slushy weather conditions. It is imperative that you stay in control of the speed of the vehicle for safety reasons.
  8. Distracted driving increases the risk of car accidents in any weather but it is especially important to avoid behavior that distracts from driving in poor weather conditions. Keep your cell phone behind your seat, do not eat or apply makeup in the car while you are driving.
  9. Clear snow from your car roof before you set out on the road and stay far away from vehicles covered in snow as it can blow into your windshield and block your view.
  10. If there is one lane that is well-traveled compared to the others, use it and try to stay within the trail created by the tires of the cars ahead of you.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!