Driving in the snow in the winter can be incredibly dangerous, accounting for an average of 1,300 deaths each year, as well as 116,000 injuries because of weather conditions. Winter car accidents can cause critical injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, back injuries, and wrongful death. After a car accident injury, you or a loved one may be left with a mountain of medical debt, lost wages, and emotional trauma from the accident.
What Causes Winter Accidents
Winter accidents are caused by poor visibility, blizzards and snowstorms, intense winds, sleet, hail, and rain, black ice, and slushy/snowy roads. Before getting into your vehicle, you should always make sure that you’re prepared for any poor winter weather conditions you may have to face on your trip. If the roads are too dangerous, staying home might be the best option for your safety and the safety of everyone else on the roads.
Black ice occurs when a thin layer of water freezes over the pavement. This ice is not actually black, but so glossy and transparent that it’s almost invisible. Hitting a patch of black ice can cause your car to skid, crashing into an object or another car.
Inexperience is also known to cause car accidents in the winter. If you’re the parent of a young driver who may not have experienced driving in the winter much, you may want to give them a few tips on how to stay safe in winter weather. Or maybe even go out with them the first few times they get behind the wheel in the winter.
Tips for Avoiding Accidents in the Winter
When there’s a snowstorm occurring, the best way to stay safe is to stay off the roads completely. Snowstorms can cause poor visibility, slushy streets, and ice. If you have the choice to stay home, you should. Follow your local news station to ensure you’re receiving updates about the weather and road conditions.
You’ll also want to make sure that your car is fully prepared for the winter season. Change your tires from regular to winter tires, and use tire chains when going out in especially icy/snowy weather. Pack an emergency bag that includes road salt, a shovel, a flashlight, and an ice scraper, just in case you get stuck in a snowbank. You’ll also want to make sure that you include extra snacks, extra layers, and water just in case.
Another important thing to remember before heading out onto the road is to clear your car completely of snow. If you don’t clear it completely, some of the snow may fall down onto your windshield while driving. This can cause your vision to be obscured.
If you have to leave the house during a snowstorm, make sure you let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be there. When you arrive, send them a text to let them know. That way, if they don’t get a text, they’ll know that you may need help.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Accidents Caused by Snowstorms?
If your accident doesn’t involve another vehicle or another person, but instead is collision with a snowbank or other object (like a tree or mailbox), your own insurance policy should cover it. Although, this depends on your insurance company and your insurance policy’s limits. However, it should cover any damage to your vehicle as well as any bodily injury to yourself or a passenger.
If your accident occurs because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. Negligence could look like texting while driving, drinking and driving, reckless driving, speeding, having a car that is not well maintained for use in the snow, or inexperience.
Who’s at Fault for my Winter Accident?
Determining fault for your accident is a multi-step process that will begin with an initial investigation by your attorney. They will gather up medical records, police statements, witnesses statements, and any other information to help determine what may have happened to cause your accident. To determine negligence, your attorney must be able to prove:
- Duty of Care: they must be able to prove that the driver who hit you owed a certain duty of care to you. This is easy to prove as all drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road. Basically, this means that drivers must try their best to keep other drivers safe on the road at all times. For example, by paying attention while driving.
- Breach of Duty: They then must be able to prove that this duty was breached, resulting in negligence and your accident.
- Causation: The breach must directly cause your accident. This is normally easy to prove. If you can prove they were negligent, proving their negligence caused the accident is normally pretty easy.
- Damages: You then must be able to prove that the accident caused monetary damages, such as hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, please contact us here at Sand Law. Our talented attorneys are ready to help you receive the compensation that you deserve. For more information, please contact us online by using or chat box option, or by calling us at 651-291-7263.