In the wake of last week’s blizzard, Virginia State Police announced that they responded to over one thousand calls requesting assistance from drivers whose cars were disabled and drivers who had been involved in car crashes. As snow began to fall last week drivers were stuck in traffic delays for hours as they tried to leave the Washington, D.C. area and return home. Because of the delays, some drivers abandoned their cars on the freeway and walked – some for hours – to reach their destinations. Others who remained with their cars and tried to navigate the highways and roads found themselves losing control and crashing on slick roadways.
It is no secret that inclement weather can make driving even short distances treacherous. Fortunately there are simple steps drivers can take to protect themselves from injury accidents and reduce the likelihood that they themselves would cause an accident.
Tips for Driving Safely During Winter Storms
By taking the following precautions Virginia drivers can reduce the chance that they will be involved in a winter storm car crash:
- Have your car examined by a qualified mechanic. Make sure that your tires, brakes, and car fluids are all prepared for winter driving.
- Familiarize yourself with your car’s braking system. If you have antilock brakes (most newer models do), you do not need to “pump” your brakes in order to stop your car. Instead, simply apply firm steady pressure. If your car is not equipped with antilock brakes, you must build pressure in the braking system to stop your car by “pumping” your brakes. If you don’t know which type you have, you may have your mechanic tell you and/or practice braking in a safe parking lot or other large space.
- Only venture out if you absolutely need to do so. Not only does this protect you but it reduces congestion on the roadways, allowing emergency crews to clear the roadways more effectively and reach those in need of emergency assistance.
- If you must venture out, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Rushing to your destination increases the chances that you will lose control on slick roadways or that you will not be able to effectively maneuver or stop in the event a hazard or obstacle is in your way. Give yourself plenty of distance to stop or turn as snow and ice can double or even triple the distance it takes for you to complete these maneuvers safely.
- If you are driving and you notice you are beginning to lose traction, gently let off of the accelerator (do not suddenly brake!) and turn your vehicle into the direction of the slide. Make your movements deliberate and gentle until you feel that you have gained control of the car once more, then gently accelerate and continue along your way.
What To Do in a Winter Car Crash
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of a car crash in the blizzard or a winter storm, you may still be entitled to some compensation for your injuries, your medical expenses, your lost wages, and other related losses. Contact attorney Jan Hoen and the team at Hampton Injury Law right away to learn what legal rights you may have and how to exercise them. You can reach Hampton Injury Law by calling (757) 838-1136 or contacting the firm online.