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Winter Driving

The Northeastern United States is known for having severe winter storms that can include significant accumulations of snow and ice, as well as bitterly cold temperatures. These conditions can make driving extremely dangerous, and every year thousands of people are injured in accidents involving winter weather. While some winter weather accidents are unavoidable, drivers still owe other people on the roads a duty to drive in a manner suitable for the conditions, notes White Plains personal injury lawyers. When winter weather accidents occur because of someone’s negligence or carelessness, victims may be able to recover for their losses by filing a New York personal injury claim. If you believe you may have a claim, it is advisable to consult with a White Plains personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Poor weather conditions do not excuse people from exercising due care while driving. Although snow or ice may play a significant role in causing an accident, drivers who negligently cause accidents could still be held liable. Under general tort law principles, people are required to conduct themselves with the same level of care that a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances. Therefore, while driving at the speed limit in a snowstorm may not be in violation of the applicable local ordinance, it may not be reasonable (and therefore negligent) in the context of the contemporaneous weather conditions. Other ways that a driver may negligently cause an accident in winter weather conditions include:

 

  • Not using headlights
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to use windshield wipers
  • Not removing snow or ice from a vehicle
  • Following too closely
  • Impaired driving
  • Losing control of a vehicle
  • Improper vehicle maintenance

These are just some of the ways a driver may negligently cause an accident in snowy or icy conditions. To determine whether you have a claim against another driver for causing an accident, you should consult with an experienced White Plains personal injury lawyer immediately.

Fortunately for motorists, there are certain steps that you can take in order to lower the risk of being involved in a winter weather accident. Some of the advice the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests to motorists includes the following:

  • Maintain your vehicle – make sure your battery, tire tread, windshield wipers, and antifreeze are all at sufficient levels and topped off.
  • Plan your route – make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going, and check weather conditions along your route
  • Be prepared – Always have the following equipment and materials on hand: cell phone, flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material, a shovel, snow brush, ice scraper, warning devices, and blankets. For particularly long trips, bring food and water.
  • Practice driving in winter weather conditions – During daylight hours, head to an empty parking lot and practice stopping, steering into a skid, turning, and starting.
  • ALWAYS buckle up
  • NEVER drive while impaired
  • Avoid driver fatigue – Take frequent breaks, and rotate drivers if possible.

By following these steps, you can minimize your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident in winter weather conditions. In the unfortunate event that you are, you should seek immediate medical attention and contact a White Plains personal injury attorney as soon as possible. 

To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call Lynch Schwab today at (914) 304-4353.

Posted on January 13, 2014 in For Our Clients, Personal Injury