Winter weather can present dangerous traveling conditions for motorists, but by taking certain precautions they may help improve their safety.
Slick and snow-covered roads, black ice, fog and other hazardous conditions can make traveling during the winter months dangerous for motorists in Georgia and elsewhere. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 17 percent of all motor vehicle collisions occur when winter conditions are present. As a result of such accidents, those involved may suffer serious injuries or death. Although drivers may not be able to prevent all winter weather-related crashes, there are steps they can take that may help improve their safety when traveling in inclement weather.
Ensure vehicle is ready to drive
The last thing anyone wants to deal with is their vehicle breaking down when they are going somewhere. Conducting regular maintenance throughout the year is essential in keeping vehicles in the optimal performance condition. However, this may be even more crucial during the winter months. The dropping temperatures may drain the battery’s power, as well as the tire inflation pressure. In addition to having their vehicles services regularly, people should perform a safety inspection of their cars’ systems prior to hitting the road during the winter months.
Plan the route
Even if they have been where they are going many times before, it is important for people to plan their routes before driving in winter weather. Drivers are advised to check the traffic, road conditions and weather, so they can plan their travel accordingly. Additionally, they should double-check the directions and maps, and it is advisable for motorists to let someone else know the route they are taking and their anticipated arrival time.
Avoid driving at night
In the dark of night, hazardous conditions such as black ice may be less visible to motorists. If they do not see such dangers or notice them too late, drivers may be unable to take corrective action in order to avoid serious auto accidents. Therefore, people are advised to avoid traveling at night when winter conditions are present unless it is necessary.
When traveling on snow-covered or slick roads, it is recommended that drivers slow down their speeds by at least half. This is because when traveling in such conditions, it can be harder for people to control their vehicles. It is also suggested that motorists increase their following distances. This may help allow them the time they need to slow or stop their vehicles in response to the driving conditions or the vehicles ahead of them.
Be prepared for an emergency
Even if they have taken every precaution, cars break down and accidents happen. During the winter months, however, this may be particularly dangerous as those involved may be subjected to the elements until help arrives. Therefore, people should stock their vehicles with emergency items to help ensure they are prepared for such situations. This includes flares or emergency lights, flashlights, jumper cables and blankets.
Seeking legal guidance
When people are involved in winter weather-related accidents in Georgia, they may suffer serious injuries that require them to take time off work to recover, as well as extensive medical care. Consequently, they may incur undue medical bills and lose income. Depending on the circumstances, however, the drivers responsible for causing such collisions may be held financially liable. Therefore, people who have been injured as a result of such crashes may find it helpful to consult with an attorney to discuss their rights and options.