Ready or not, winter is fast approaching, and with it comes treacherous road conditions. Accidents are common in winter conditions. Following are the top five causes of winter driving accidents:
Inadequate stopping distance. Slick roads in the winter call for increased stopping distance between cars. The standard recommended following distance for dry roads is three to four seconds. On slick and icy roads this should be increased to eight to ten seconds. Snow and ice reduce the grip that tires have on the road, therefore increasing the time and distance required to stop.
Decreased visibility. Winter weather decreases a driver's ability to see what is ahead of them. Not only do the actual weather elements reduce visibility, but many accidents occur due to a driver's failure to clean their windshield and other windows properly. Failing to adequately clean the snow and ice off your car can make it more difficult to see other cars or objects on the road.
Sliding and skidding. A leading cause of accidents is sliding and skidding on winter roads. Icy road conditions account for 13% of all weather-related accidents. Speed is another threat on icy roads. Failing to control your speed increases the chance that you won't have adequate time to stop before hitting another vehicle or object if you begin to slide.
Distracted driving. Distracted driving is a leading cause of all accidents today, but becomes even more dangerous in the winter. Winter weather requires more attention to the roads and other vehicles on the road. When combined with winter conditions, it only takes a momentary distraction to cause catastrophic consequences.
The most important thing to do after being involved in any accident is to make your recovery a priority. Be sure to get evaluated by a certified physician who can document any and all injuries and their potential to cause loss of wages due to missing work. You should also speak with a skilled attorney who can handle everything from working with the insurance company to handling medical claims.