Many Americans fail to realize that the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis is drive our vehicles. Whether you’re in a standard passenger car, truck, or SUV, you are putting yourself at higher risk of injury or death when you are on the road. In California, we have the luxury of wonderful driving conditions nearly year-round, so many of us are not accustomed to driving during dangerous winter weather. This decade’s drought has further shielded us from the necessity to take to the roads when the weather is less than optimal. This creates for a situation in which many of the drivers on the road do not adjust their driving accordingly with changes in the weather – it’s not necessarily their fault, they haven’t had to do so for years!
With the storm we had this week, and looking forward to the coming weeks grim forecast that our meteorologists have so lovingly provided us with, we thought it useful to discuss winter traffic accidents and how to stay safe. If you have already succumbed to the poor driving conditions so far this year and have been injured in a car accident, call a Sacramento car accident lawyer at The Weinberger Law Firm for a free consultation.
Unfortunately, the rain and snow won’t let up just because you have to drive – you are going to have to deal with it the best you can. We use our eyes to drive, and when our eyes aren’t getting us all the information we need because of reduced visibility, the dangers of driving increase dramatically. Low-visibility conditions see an increase in the number of head-on collisions, rear-end accidents, and t-bone accidents, all of which can prove very serious and deadly.
When you are having trouble seeing the road, chances are everyone else is too, making for a situation whereby all drivers on the road have slower reaction times and a reduced cushion for error. If you want to stay safe in low-visibility conditions, you should reduce your speed, increase your following distance, and at times, you may need to adjust your headlights. Sometimes turning your high beams on may help, but more often than not, you will want to reduce your headlight power and switch to your fog lights. Sometimes the weather can be so bad that you need to just pull over and wait it out – this will always be your safest option.
Because California doesn’t see a whole lot of rain, our infrastructure is not designed to handle large amounts of water. When we are hit with storms of a large magnitude, our roadways become flooded and dangerous. Standing pools of water on our roadways are a recipe for a special kind of disaster – hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is a scary phenomenon in which your vehicle completely loses its grip on the road. This often occurs for just a split second, but that is all the time needed for disaster. In that split second when a driver is not connected to the road, a small mistake can prove costly. Accidents caused by hydroplaning vary widely, and include rear-end, T-Bone, head-on, and even roll-over. Roll-over accidents can occur when the vehicle begins to spin, but the wheels regain traction at the perfectly wrong time, causing the vehicle to flip over. If you find yourself to be hydroplaning, you can usually stay safe and avoid an accident by following a few important rules:
There aren’t a lot of California drivers that have to worry about ice and snow, but 2017 has brought snow to lower elevations, and over 15 feet to the Lake Tahoe area in the last 12 days! Thousands of people will be heading to the mountains over the coming weeks and they will encounter poor road conditions. Similar to hydroplaning, snow and ice on the road will cause your vehicle to lose traction. Unlike hydroplaning, it can prove difficult to regain your traction once you have lost it, and you could put yourself into a slide that lasts well over 100 feet and which you have absolutely no control over. We might sound like a broken record here, but the best thing you can do to avoid dangerous conditions caused by snow and ice is to reduce your speed and stay hyper-alert. Staying away from heavy grades and roads with low lying areas, where water can pool and freeze, will reduce your chances of getting stuck in a slide.
Have you been injured during this abnormally wet winter season? Drivers who choose to ignore warnings and drive inappropriately during adverse weather conditions can be charged with reckless driving and a case could be made for negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed during an accident this winter, please do not hesitate to contact our Sacramento car accident lawyer. We have the knowledge and experience to secure just compensation for you and your family. Call (916) 357-6767 for a free consultation with a Sacramento car accident lawyer today!