Winter weather approaches fast, and several dangers exist that can result in severe car accidents. As a driver, you should recognize the dangers and ways that you can stay safe from harm. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to prevent others from being negligent, and you deserve to safeguard your rights following an injury.
These are some of the common winter driving dangers to know about:
- Driveway snow
- Bicycling in the winter
- Travel dangers
- Lack of tire chains
- Snowplow dangers
If you suffer an injury in a winter-related accident, you may be unaware of your options. Other drivers may blame the weather conditions, but it’s not something that eliminates negligence. Some drivers are more negligent when they cause a crash in inclement weather. Anyone they injure deserves the right to pursue compensation for their harm.
Below, we will explain how dangerous the winter weather can be and how you can stay safe.
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Winter Driving Dangers
In the winter weather, drivers must remember to stay safe for the conditions. For instance, if snow is falling, the speed limit may be too fast. Drivers must slow down, give each other room to react, and keep each other’s safety in mind.
Driveways to homes and businesses are particularly dangerous because snow can sit for hours on end. When snow sits idly, it becomes slippery and makes it more difficult for drivers to stop or control their vehicles when it matters most. When driveway snow is present, it can also cause pedestrian accidents as drivers cannot stop pulling out of their homes or businesses and crash into someone walking by.
While it doesn’t involve auto accidents, slip and fall injuries can occur because of driveway snow.
Bicycling In the Winter
It’s more difficult for drivers to see bicyclists in any situation. However, when the winter season hits, the dangers worsen. Bicyclists run the risk of suffering significant injuries because they don’t have the same safety and protections as those in passenger vehicles.
Bicyclists should take every precaution to stay visible in winter weather and avoid any area where drivers are more prominent.
The winter is also a common time for traveling. Many people spend holidays with their loved ones. As it comes closer to these dates, traffic increases significantly. If you intend on traveling, be sure to pay close attention to the weather conditions. If the weather threatens your safety, consider adjusting your travel route or departure time.
Lack of Tire Chains
Tire chains are often required to ensure drivers can maintain control of their vehicles. Tire chains prevent tires from sliding on slippery roads. Without tire chains, drivers can quickly lose control, hydroplane, spin out, and crash into other vehicles.
It’s vital to recognize where tire chains are necessary. Look for signs that show requirements, and be sure to carry tire chains with you during the winter. Some vehicles may not need tire chains, so know what is right for your vehicle.
You may be around snowplows on some streets as they clear the roads for drivers to stay safe. However, it’s vital to recognize that these snowplows can be just as dangerous if you’re not paying attention to the operator’s actions.
Snowplows may turn randomly or stop out of nowhere. When this happens, it can be difficult for drivers to react. Make sure you give a snowplow enough room and avoid trying to pass it.
How You Can Stay Safe
Whenever you have to travel or commute during the winter, it’s vital to ensure you stay as safe as possible. Below, we will detail some of the things that you can do to protect yourself, what you can look for to identify a negligent driver, and what your rights are if someone causes you harm.
Protecting Yourself In the Winter Weather
You may not be able to prevent a crash when others are negligent. However, you can do certain things that increase your ability to stay safe. Here are the things you can do on your own to avoid causing an accident:
- Maintain your vehicle: Make sure your tires, brakes, windshield wipers, tires, and other vehicle parts are safe. Maintenance can prevent severe accidents from occurring.
- Consider the conditions: When the weather becomes inclement, you should be sure to consider what it does to the road conditions. Slow down, don’t follow too closely, and keep your focus on the road.
- Give yourself room: The winter weather can make it challenging to stop, especially as you approach to traffic. To stay safe, be sure to give yourself and others plenty of room. Space is vital to stay safe, and you want to ensure nobody will crash into you.
Your safety measures are important. However, others may not be as prepared as you are. They may not prioritize safety as you do. When this happens, someone else can cause a crash that results in your severe injuries. Recognizing negligence is another way to stay as safe as possible.
What To Look Out For
Watching other drivers can help keep you safe. Identifying their negligence can keep you alert, and you may report a negligent driver to prevent a crash. Look for drivers who may speed, swerve in and out of traffic, tailgate others, or put others at risk. If you notice a driver who may present a danger in winter weather, here are some things that you should do:
- Slow down and avoid passing the driver.
- Use a hands-free device to report the driver to local law enforcement.
- Pull over if you believe you are at risk of a crash.
If you can avoid traveling in inclement weather, it may be best to wait. You don’t want to suffer a crash because of someone else’s negligence. If it does happen, though, you should be sure to recognize your rights and learn what you can do to safeguard them against liable parties.
Your Rights After a Crash
If you suffer a crash in terrible weather, it helps to know your rights. Many drivers may try to use the weather as their reason for a crash occurring. While some insurance companies are okay with allowing this, you have to remember that weather does not excuse negligence.
You can still hold someone accountable for causing your harm if you can prove that they did not consider the weather conditions. If another driver speeds, fails to maintain their vehicle, or otherwise puts someone else in danger, they are liable for the injuries you sustain.
At The Gatti Law Firm, we don’t allow individuals to get out of their negligence. If drivers crash into others because they lose control or speed, they should be held accountable. Our firm works to battle insurance companies who may try to bully claimants into receiving less compensation than they deserve. We prioritize your rights every step of the way because it matters most to you.
Our Oregon car accident lawyers take the steps necessary to find the evidence that helps build your case. We will give you a voice and work on your behalf to obtain maximum compensation. When you feel like your back is against the wall and there’s nobody else to turn, we’ll be there for you every step of the way.