Although the winter season is often filled with celebration and merriment, it can also be a dangerous time to travel for those get-togethers. Road conditions are not often ideal in winter, with snow, sleet, and ice often making up the bulk of the problems for drivers.
With more than 116,000 Americans injured on roadways and 1,3000 fatalities every winter, according to Dept. of Transportation data, it is now more important than ever that drivers pay attention to the roads and get to their destinations safely. Use these tips to plan a safe drive in the winter and know what to do in case you do experience an accident while driving during this season.
How to Safely Drive During the Winter Season
- Unless absolutely necessary, don’t drive – Icy roads can be treacherous, so unless you absolutely have to drive, stay home. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
- Keep your vehicle in good condition – Regular maintenance on your car, truck, or other vehicle you drive regularly will prevent breakdowns or other service failures when winter rolls around. Make sure your tires are in good shape and replace them as they wear out. Have your battery tested and fluid levels checked on a regular basis in order to have confidence that you are behind the wheel of a safe vehicle each time you hit the road.
- Be mindful of space between you and vehicles in front of you – Road conditions during the winter are unpredictable, so many drivers become less predictable as well. Give others plenty of space when you brake in order to avoid your tires sliding on ice or snow, leading to an accident.
- Minimize distraction, maximize focus – It can be tempting to keep your music up or make phone calls on your phone despite the road conditions. However, winter is not a good time of year to crank the tunes or be sociable when your attention should be on the road. Turn the stereo down and make calls once you get to your destination. While you’re on the roads, be cautious while approaching steep hills, as vehicles can be prone to slide on ice during winter snowstorms or when drizzle is present. Use momentum from flatter surfaces to carry you up hills, and then decelerate slowly as you crest the hills to avoid fishtailing.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Winter
If you do get in a car accident during the winter, take these steps to make sure you have everything you need to have your claim filed and avoid further issues:
- Avoid admitting fault – Do not say any statements to the other parties that could be misconstrued that you are at fault for the accident. That statement could be used in a claim against you.
- Take steps to be safe after the accident – If you have had the accident but are not injured, try to put up cones or flares to alert other drivers to give you a wide berth as you sort out the information you need. You might be able to call the police or have others alert them of your situation so they can provide a report. If others have serious injuries or appear to be unresponsive, call 9-1-1 immediately and do not move the injured parties.
- Gather evidence and exchange information – Take photographs of the area using your phone and ask the driver and passengers for their contact information as well as insurance policy information. Ask any witnesses for their information as well. You will need to provide it for the insurance claim following your accident.
- Have your injuries examined by an experienced medical professional – As soon as you are able, schedule an appointment with a doctor to have an exam and ensure your accident was documented. Even if you are fine now, injuries can manifest later, such as any soreness or bruising, as a result of the accident. It is better to get checked out as soon as possible to ensure that evidence is available in the event you need to file a personal injury claim.
- Find a personal injury attorney – In the event your car accident resulted in serious injuries or a total loss of your vehicle, contact an attorney with experience handling personal injury claims to ensure you receive compensation as a result of the accident. Your attorney will have the legal knowledge you need to make sure you are fully compensated within the confines of the law.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Arkansas
If you’ve been in a car accident during the winter, sustained injuries, and need an attorney, find one with a wealth of knowledge about car accident injury claims. Contact The Brad Hendricks Law Firm today to discuss your case. We have offices in Little Rock, Conway, Fayetteville, and Texarkana to help clients statewide.