Icy Roads, Car Accidents and Whiplash: The Dangers of Winter Driving

Warm hats, winter coats, and mittens are common sights when driving during the winter months. Sadly, winter experiences also include icy roads, car accidents and whiplash. Road conditions aren’t always pleasant during the winter months, especially in the Midwest, and this has a direct impact on the number of accidents that occur. When traveling back and forth from work, school, and other activities, it’s important to keep in mind the dangers of winter driving.

There are many situations that could cause a winter accident or injury, but taking precautionary measures can increase your safety and those around you during these winter months.

  • Reduced Visibility – With winter weather comes blowing snow and drifting across roads. Tie in icy windshields and drivers who don’t use their headlights, and you have a recipe for disaster. Always check to make sure your headlights are in working order and all windows are cleared of ice and snow. These steps won’t just help you to see better but will also allow other drivers to see you.
  • Tire Pressure – Many drivers forget to check their tire pressure during the winter months. This can play a very important role in safe winter driving. The cold temperatures of winter change the pressure in your tires, causing them to be low. When inflating your tires, make sure to check the recommended pressure for your vehicle this should be listed in the vehicle’s manual or inside the driver’s door.
  • Icy Roads – Cold weather in the Midwest makes for icy roads – even if you can’t see it. Black ice is a very real and dangerous hazard during the winter months. Avoid using cruise control if the air temperature is below freezing. Slow down. If you don’t have ABS in your vehicle, remember to pump your brakes when coming to a quick stop. And always leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you.
  • Bridges and Exit Ramps – Bridges and exit ramps are prime locations for icy road accidents. Because air is able to pass beneath them, these areas tend to stay colder than main roads. Keep in mind that while the highway may be dry and clear, bridges and ramps could still be icy. Take time to slow down when approaching and driving on these surfaces.

Winter Driving Accidents and Injuries

There are many types of winter driving accidents that can happen. Rear-ending another driver, sliding off into a ditch, losing control and hitting a street sign, or getting into accidents at intersections are just few of the type of the accidents that can be caused during the winter driving season. Many of these accidents can cause major damage to both your car and injury of passengers involved in the accident.

If you or someone you know has been in a winter driving accident, pay close attention to any pain in the neck or back. Whiplash is a very common injury during the winter and should be treated immediately. Keep in mind that the symptoms of whiplash may not appear immediately, but may show up later that day or week.

After a car has been involved in a winter driving accident, make sure you take the appropriate next steps.  It is important to contact the police to document the scene, and if anyone is injured it is wise to immediately seek medical attention. Remember that accidents can happen even when these precautions are taken.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a winter driving incident and there is a dispute, contact an experienced attorney at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss today.

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