While winter can be and often is a beautiful time of year, it’s also one of the more dangerous times of the year to be on the road. That’s because we all know that winter in the Ohio Valley means a lot of rain, snow, and ice. When you’re on the roads this time of year, make sure you drive safely!
Rain, Snow, and Ice are Leading Causes of Car Accidents
The same is true no matter whether you’re in West Virginia, Ohio, or Pennsylvania…rain, snow, and ice are some of the leading causes of car accidents in the Ohio Valley. Rain, ice, and snow can create unsafe road conditions that cause or are a contributing factor to car accidents. When roads are slick, cars and other vehicles cannot brake as quickly. As a result, what may be prudent driving under normal conditions may be unsafe in winter weather conditions. This is especially true for heavier vehicles such as vans, pickup trucks, buses, and tractor trailers. The heavier weight of these vehicles often make them more susceptible to crashes in wintry conditions, causing many rear end or “fender bender” accidents.
Unfortunately, our community suffers winter-related car and truck accidents quite often. During our first snow fall, according to a local news report, a woman was injured in Moundsville, West Virginia after her car crashed with a semi-truck or tanker truck. The accident occurred near the Moundsville Bridge on Route 2. Unfortunately, the woman was trapped in her car for some time and had to be treated at Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, West Virginia. While the news story does not say whether rain, snow, ice or other weather condition played a role in the accident, the news reporter indicated that there was a “wintry mix” of snow and rain that day.
Do’s and Don’ts of Driving During Winter Weather!
Driving during winter is inevitable if you live in the Ohio Valley. We can’t just not drive. That being the case, here are some do’s and don’ts that will help minimize your chances of being in a car accident caused by inclement weather.
Do plan ahead
Check the weather forecast and be aware of upcoming weather conditions. If bad winter weather is anticipated, make sure you have what you need for a few days without leaving your home. That obviously means food, but don’t forget about any medications and other supplies you may need. In my home, that means plenty of baby food, formula, and diapers! Don’t forget about your pets either! If you need anything, make sure you get it before a storm hits. Plan ahead!
Don’t take unnecessary risks
If you’re out on the road during bad winter conditions, don’t take any unnecessary risks. If a different way of getting to where you need to be is longer but safer, take the safer route. Slow down sooner when approaching a stop light or stop sign to make sure you come to a safe stop. And, of course, if you don’t need to be out on the road, don’t be out on the road. Your daughter is going to recover if she misses a dance class. Your hair cut can wait until the following week. Don’t risk your health and safety when you don’t have to!
Do keep an emergency kit in your car
When many people think about car crashes, they think of a multi-vehicle accident. Car A hits Car B. However, many car crashes are simply single vehicle accidents. This is especially true during the winter. Think about it. If you’re driving and hit black ice going into a turn, you may go off the road and hit a tree. These are common accidents during the winter, and you may be immobilized in your car for some time until first responders arrive.
If that happens, make sure you have everything you need in an emergency. That means keeping a first aid kit in your car along with blankets, warm clothing and a flashlight. That also means making sure you keep a fully charged cell phone with you. It’s also a good idea to keep kitty litter in your car in case your car is stuck in snow or ice. This is especially true in many parts of West Virginia and Ohio as it’s very rural and the roads can be steep and windy.
Don’t assume everyone knows how to drive in the winter
My nephew, Christian Turak, who is an oil and gas attorney and partner at GKT, grew up in Florida. He will be the first to admit that learning how to drive in wintry conditions was challenging. The truth is, not everyone knows how to drive during winter weather conditions, and you shouldn’t assume that everyone on the road is taking the same precautions that you are.
For example, you shouldn’t assume that you’re driving too slow for the conditions if someone is tailgating you. The much more likely scenario is that the tailgating driver is driving at an unsafe speed and an unsafe manner. Tailgating in and of itself is unsafe, especially when rain, snow, or ice is present.
The GKT Difference
GKT is a personal injury law firm that has represented people in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania who have been injured in car accidents and crashes for over 40 years. We’ve seen it all when it comes to car accidents caused by rain, snow, ice, and other winter weather conditions. Our attorneys have a proven track record of making sure our clients receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. The results speak for themselves.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or crash, call GKT today at (304) 845-9750 or live chat with a representative 24/7 at GKT.com. We offer free, no-obligation consultations at your convenience.