New York winters mean ice and snow on roads, which in turn are factors in car accidents. But negligence and recklessness also contribute to car accidents on snow and ice.
More than 1,300 people die each year in car accidents on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Another 116,800 people suffer personal injury. The FHWA says 24 percent of car crashes caused by adverse weather conditions occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement. Fifteen percent happen while snow or sleet is falling. Winter driving car accident statistics illustrate the need for added precautions.
Most drivers know to slow down and leave more room between vehicles in adverse weather. But when a driver causes an accident resulting in injury or death because they failed to drive safely in snow and ice, they can be held legally accountable. This is when a New York winter weather car accident attorney can help those who have been injured.
New York Winter Weather Car Accidents
The Syracuse area averaged 121.7 inches of snow — more than 10 feet — each winter from 2000 to 2011, according to the National Weather Service. Despite efforts to maintain area roads, many accidents happen in snow and ice.
Snow and ice create two distinct driving hazards:
- Slippery roads. Even traces of snow and ice increase the likelihood of skidding and sliding. The hazard known as “black ice” is a particularly dangerous hazard because it blends in visually with the surface of asphalt roads.
- Less visibility. Snow, sleet and freezing rain obscure a driver’s view as they fall. Falling snow, windblown snow or snow that covers the ground can obscure reference points and disorient a driver. This is known as “whiteout conditions.” When snow or ice reflects sunlight it can cause a driver to become snow blind.
Across New York in 2011, 24,995 car accidents, nearly 10 percent of all car wrecks, were attributed to slippery pavement, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Another 5,654 accidents were blamed on limited or obstructed view.
Safe Driving in New York’s Snow and Ice
If you can avoid driving in snow and ice, that’s the safest choice. If you must drive in snow and ice, you should slow down and increase your following distance.
Other winter weather driving tips include:
- Check for ice. Ice on a vehicle’s windows or wiper blades indicates the likelihood of ice on the road. A lack of spray from vehicles ahead indicates water on the road has frozen.
- Avoid having to slow down. Watch far enough ahead to maintain a steady speed.
- Don’t turn or brake sharply.
- Take curves at slower speeds and avoid braking in curves.
- Avoid driving alongside other vehicles.
- Leave extra following distance.
Learn more detailed winter driving safety tips.
Unfortunately, safe driving on your part doesn’t mean you won’t get into an accident. Other drivers may shrug off the danger of snow and ice or misjudge their ability. They are the drivers who cause car accidents.
When a winter weather accident results in serious personal injury or death to an innocent victim, legal action can hold a reckless driver accountable for their conduct. If you are hurt by a negligent driver who did not adjust their driving behavior for snow and ice, an experienced New York car accident lawyer can help you.
Contact a Syracuse Car Accident Lawyer
The winter weather car accident attorneys at the law offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, have helped many Syracuse residents recover the compensation they deserve after a car wreck on snowy or icy roads. Whether we resolve your case through successful negotiations with an insurance company or by proceeding to trial, we can help ensure that you obtain the maximum compensation available to you by law.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Syracuse car accident on snow or ice, call our New York winter weather car accident attorneys at 855-629-4302 or 315-314-5390 for a FREE case review. You can also contact us via our online contact form. We also serve clients in Elmira, Watertown, Rochester and Binghamton.