When it comes to seasonal road conditions, winter is by far the most demanding time for New York motorists. As the temperatures drop, wet and icy conditions can make driving more challenging. As such, inclement weather significantly contributes to traffic accidents.
Whether you drive a car or a motorcycle, safe driving can help prevent accidents this winter.
Winter Road Accidents Explained
Per New York law, driving is a privilege, and motorists have a duty of care to engage in safe behavior at all times. Unfortunately, many accidents during winter are linked to inclement weather conditions, which cannot be controlled.
Some of the most common factors in winter crashes include:
- Poor visibility
- Wet, snowy, or icy pavement
- Road hazards, including fallen trees and snow piles
Drivers may experience one or all of these factors while driving in the winter.
The winter months in New York can be notoriously wet and snowy. Whenever weather conditions become severe enough, drivers can struggle to see clearly through windshields.
Additionally, motorists are known to hydroplane when operating cars in wet conditions. The sudden loss of control can be hazardous, especially if the vehicle is traveling at a high speed. According to the Federal Highway Administration, roughly 5,700 traffic fatalities happen every year in the U.S. due to wet road conditions.
Like hydroplaning, sudden braking while on wet or icy roads can cause a car to spin out of control and crash into nearby vehicles and pedestrians.
Another major factor in winter-related accidents is poor vehicle maintenance. Motorists often drive with broken or degraded wiper blades, which can be dangerous in wet weather. Additionally, driving on snow or ice without the proper winter tires can be difficult and puts motorists and pedestrians at risk.
Failure to engage in proper vehicle maintenance is considered negligent and can result in serious legal consequences whenever injury or property damage occurs.
3 Tips for Reducing Winter Traffic Accidents
Car crashes usually happen when you least expect them. Although predicting a catastrophe is nearly impossible, there’s plenty you can do to reduce the risk of a crash during winter conditions.
1. Drive Cautiously in Poor Weather
Snow and ice create poor traction, and braking, accelerating, and turning are all impacted by wet and icy weather.
The safest way to operate a vehicle in winter is to drive at slower speeds, and on high alert. In the event of sudden braking or turning, a car moving slowly will pose less danger.
Additionally, if possible, you should avoid driving in high-risk areas like mountain passes, rural highways, and unpaved roads.
2. Avoid Poor Visibility
Nearly 40,000 car accidents occur each year in the U.S. due to poor or low visibility.
One way to reduce the risk of an accident is to check that your vehicle’s defrosting systems are working. Additionally, you should perform routine windshield wiper maintenance to ensure that you can drive safely in rain, hail, and snow.
You should also maintain an ample supply of wiper fluid. Although salt and sand helps stabilize road conditions, the residue kicked up by other vehicles can accumulate on your windshield and make it harder to see.
3. Increase Your Vehicle Distance
Wet roads make stopping a vehicle more difficult. As such, one of the safest ways to reduce crashes is to increase the distance between you and other motorists.
The increased ability to respond to dangers or sudden movements can reduce the risk of an accident. Additionally, you’ll want to look farther down the road than usual. This means keeping an eye on the traffic ahead and watching for brake or hazard lights.
If a negligent winter driver has injured you, Kohan Law Group can help you recover damages. Our attorneys in Nassau County, Long Island, represent personal injury claims and will protect your rights after a crash. Contact us today.