The weather is getting cooler all along the East Coast. We’re officially in the grip of fall right now, and winter is right around the corner. Before the cold weather arrives is a good time to review some of the common causes of cold-weather motor vehicle accidents. Having this knowledge in hand may help you avoid some of the hazards that can lead to crashes in the coming months.
Ice is one of the leading causes of cold-weather crashes, particularly black ice (a layer of thin ice that forms on the road surface that is nearly impossible to see). Hitting ice at highway speeds can cause your vehicle to spin out of control or skid into another one. Once that occurs, serious injuries – or even fatalities – are nearly inevitable. Ice can potentially form on road surfaces any time the outside temperature dips below freezing. It’s important to drive slowly, defensively and carefully in icy conditions to prevent accidents.
Snow is another common reason for winter-weather car wrecks. Both falling snow (which impairs visibility), drifting snow (which blurs road lines) and packed snow on the roads can all mean accidents are more likely. Depending on where you travel in the state, you can expect to see a wide range of snowfall throughout an average Maryland winter. Some places get 10-12 inches on average, while others can see five or six times as much.
Poor vehicle maintenance is another key factor in many weather-related accidents. Our cars and trucks need a little TLC to get through the winter, and many people don’t take the time to do that. Most importantly, make sure you have adequate tread on your tires and that your brakes are in good working order. These two simple steps might actually save your life by preventing a car accident.
Same as any time of the year, distracted driving is also responsible for many crashes in the wintertime. Don’t drive distracted – ever – but especially during times of inclement weather. Putting down your cellphone and paying close attention to the road might give you the ability to avoid a crash.
If you are hurt in a winter car accident caused by another driver, you may have a legal cause of action. You should speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss your situation.