The arrival of winter in Upstate New York also brings the arrival of snow and ice – and the dangerous driving conditions winter weather can create. Each winter, the Syracuse area averages 122 inches of snow, more than 10 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
In New York in 2012, nearly 20,000 accidents – 8 percent of all car crashes in the state – were attributed to slippery pavement, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Almost 5,000 more were attributed to a limited or obstructed view.
Across the country each year, more than 1,300 people die and 116,800 people are injured in car accidents on snowy, icy or slushy pavement, the Federal Highway Administration reports.
There are some steps you can take to reduce the odds that you may be counted among these grim statistics.
Winter Driving Safety Tips
Snow, sleet and freezing rain create slippery roads and reduce visibility. Following these safety tips can reduce the chance of an accident during winter weather. Overall, the No. 1 tip is to stay off snowy streets and avoid driving until the roads are clear. But if you must drive:
- Make sure your car is prepared for snow and ice. Check the ignition, filters, battery and antifreeze levels. Make sure tires are properly inflated and in good condition and that you have plenty of gas in the tank.
- Practice driving in inclement weather conditions in an open parking lot during daylight hours so you are familiar with how your car handles in the snow.
- Slow down. When accelerating, slowly apply the gas to keep traction and avoid skids.
- Apply the brakes gently to slow down or stop. It takes longer to slow down on slick roadways. Know how to use your brakes, whether they are antilock brakes or not. Use the ball of your foot to apply steady pressure to the brake pedal if your car has antilock brakes. Drivers should pump the pedal on cars without antilock brakes.
- Keep a longer following distance because it takes longer to stop. A good rule of thumb is eight to 10 seconds, or three times the usual distance.
- Make sure your headlights are on to increase your visibility to other drivers.
- Keep your windshield and other windows clear.
- Drive in low gears to increase traction.
- Take extra precautions on bridges and overpasses because they freeze first.
- Don’t pass snow plows or other safety vehicles.
- Have equipment and emergency supplies in the car. Equipment includes a properly inflated spare tire and the tools to change the tire, shovel, jumper cables, tow and tire chains, ice scraper and a bag of rock salt or cat litter. Emergency supplies include a flashlight and batteries, reflective triangles, first-aid kit, exterior windshield cleaner, non-perishable food and water.
Even if you follow all precautions, that doesn’t mean you won’t be involved in a car accident this winter. Other drivers may not follow safe winter driving practices.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a winter weather accident, an experienced Upstate New York car accident lawyer can help you hold the negligent driver responsible.
Contact an Upstate New York Car Accident Lawyer
The lawyers at the law offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, have helped many New York residents recover the compensation they deserve after a car accident on snowy or icy roads. Whether we successfully negotiate with your insurance company or go to trial, we can help make sure you get the maximum compensation available to you by law.
Call our car accident attorneys now for a FREE case review. You can also contact us via our online contact form.