What Do I Need to Know About Winter Auto Accidents?
While New England winters are known for their beauty, that beauty has a dangerous side when it comes to driving. Snow, sleet, and ice can create perilous driving conditions, sometimes unexpectedly and suddenly. While many drivers in New Hampshire are experienced at driving in unfavorable winter conditions, accidents can still occur.
Is there anything that you can do to reduce your risk of being in such an accident?
Awareness of common causes of winter auto accidents can help you know how to prepare, what to look for, and how to react.
Three Common Causes of Auto Accidents on Winter Roads in New Hampshire
1. Poor Visibility
One of the biggest causes of auto accidents during winter is poor visibility. Contrary to what many drivers believe, it does not have to be snowing for your visibility to be affected. The road sprays from your vehicle and others on the road coupled with hazy fog and mist can decrease your visibility almost as much as snow.
Luckily, some simple car maintenance can help to improve your visibility and decrease your chances of getting into an accident. Make sure that your wipers (both front and back) are in good condition so that you can maintain a clear windshield and rear window. Keep your car’s windshield washer fluid filled and use a winter-specific washer fluid that avoids freezing. Lastly, keep your headlights clear of ice and snow and check to make sure that they have not become foggy over time. A quick internet search will give you many options to get foggy headlights clear again, from DIY home kits to professional services.
2. Slippery and Icy Roads
Arguably one of the top causes of winter-related auto accidents is icy and slippery roads. An icy or slippery surface significantly affects a vehicle’s handling capabilities. Cars driving on icy or slick roads are more likely to drift, swerve, and slide, which increases the likelihood of auto accidents.
If you are not paying attention or become distracted while driving during winter, you have a much higher chance of crashing. If you notice a road is slippery or icy, slow down and avoid accelerating. Do not break too suddenly as this could cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Should you notice that your car is drifting and sliding, steer it in the direction that your front tires are going to help gain control of your vehicle safely and quickly.
3. Slush and Snow
Besides icy and slippery road conditions, slush and snow are also significant contributors to auto accidents. When driving through snow and slush, vehicles often have difficulty, especially if the car you are driving is not suitable for winter weather. Snow can cause you to become stuck, while slush can contribute to a road’s slipperiness. These circumstances often contribute to loss of control and auto accidents.
To avoid an accident when driving through snow and slush, drive in the tracks of any other vehicles that have previously made their way through the area. You should also avoid accelerating quickly and speeding.
What You Should Do if You Have Been Involved in an Auto Accident During Winter?
What if, despite all of your caution, you end up in a winter auto accident? There are a few things you should remember to do. Following these simple guidelines will potentially help you build a better case should you need to seek legal action.
- Get to safety and call 911. A police unit will attend your accident scene and file a police report that you can later use as evidence.
- Seek medical attention. If you have sustained injuries, get to a hospital or doctor as soon as you are able. By seeing a doctor, you will have a record of the injuries you sustained during the accident.
- Gather accident information. Even if the weather is incredibly unfavorable, you should try to gather as much information as you can. Get the insurance information of all drivers involved in the accident, license numbers, cell phone numbers, and witness statements.
- Get in contact with an auto accident attorney. If you have suffered injuries, you should consider contacting an auto accident attorney. They can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and help you initiate legal proceedings if you need to.
Common Injuries Caused by Winter Road Conditions
If you are in an auto accident, it is important to get proper medical care as soon as possible. Obvious injuries at the time of the accident should be attended to, as well as injuries that may only manifest themselves days later. Possible injuries to look out for include:
- Various neck and back injuries, including spinal cord and slipped disk injuries
- Broken bones, bruises, and lacerations
- Severe traumatic brain and head injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Chest injuries
- Internal injuries
Who Is Liable for Auto Accidents That Occur Due to Winter Weather Conditions?
It can be challenging to determine liability in an auto accident that has transpired due to winter road conditions. However, a qualified attorney can help you figure out who is at fault for your sustained injuries. Additionally, an attorney can also help you fight for compensation.
Many people who have been in an accident in New Hampshire during winter have asked themselves if they can attribute the accident to adverse weather conditions. Unfortunately, drivers cannot blame bad weather conditions for their accidents. In New Hampshire, every person has a legal duty to drive safely and responsibly regardless of weather conditions.
It is presumed that you are aware of the dangers associated with operating a vehicle during winter. If you don’t adhere to the road rules or participate in risky behavior like speeding, these actions could lead to losing control of the vehicle. If this occurs, you could be held liable for damages. The same principle applies to other drivers on the road.
Get In Contact With an Attorney to Discuss Your Auto Accident Case
If you have been injured in an auto accident because of winter road conditions, consider speaking with an auto accident attorney. You deserve to be professionally represented so that you have a better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve. With experienced representation, you can breathe easier knowing that your claim will be handled efficiently while you focus on your recovery.