With the drastic temperature changes we experience in Utah, sometimes Utahns encounter dangerous conditions on the roadways, while walking, and during leisure. Because of the harsh winter conditions we have in Utah there are extra precautions you should take while driving in these conditions, walking on icy sidewalks, or entering homes or businesses where the floor has become wet from melting snow that has been tracked in, and many more. If you have been injured in a winter accident there maybe compensation available to you from the insurance companies to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs that may have incurred due to your winter accident.
In harsh weather conditions, we all need to take the extra precautions to keep safe from injury, below is information on various types of conditions and situations in which you should take extra precaution.
Winter Car Accidents
We all know that driving on snowy, icy, and wet roads can make driving more hazardous and to take extra time and special care when driving in these conditions. For the year 2011, the Utah Department of Safety reported in their accident statistical report that wet, snow or slush, and ice were road surface conditions for nearly 3,500 accidents. The main causes for winter driving accidents are reported as increased breaking distance required from snow and ice stopping a vehicle from stopping as quickly as normal, sliding or skidding out of control due to ice, slush, or packed snow, and decreased visibility during storms and failing to clear care of snow and ice.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe and avoid winter car accidents:
- Avoid using cruise control
- Use your headlights during the day, this increases others ability to see you
- Avoid driving at night – once the sun goes down, wet roadways can quickly turn into black ice
- Steer clear of snow plows
- Slow down on bridges and over passes – they normally are the first areas to freeze when temperature drops
- Become a defensive driver – practice in an empty lot to learn how to regain control of your vehicle
- Look at 3 to 4 car lengths ahead to give yourself the extra time to react and help avoid an accident
One of the top causes of accidents in the winter, and times when drivers report losing control of their vehicle is due to black ice. Black ice is a very thin layer of frozen water that because of a lack of air bubbles appears to be wet not icy. Black ice can be extremely dangerous on the roadways here are some winter accident avoidance tips for driving on black ice and avoid becoming another one of those winter car accident stories:
- Drive slowly – this is the best way to avoid losing control of your car
- Don’t slam on your brakes – this can cause your car to lose control, instead lightly tap instead of pushing down hard
- Maintain a safe following distance – this will give you more time to react to a winter accident or to regain control of your car if you skid out of control
- Look for problem areas – canyons, bridges, seeing cars sliding; pay attention of the road ahead for potential problems
- If your car begins to slip – take your foot of the gas pedal
Because of the winter car accidents we see in Utah, it is also important to remember to slow down and move over lanes when we see emergency vehicles. The people who serve are communities put their own safety into jeopardy when working at the scene of an accident; be sure to give them extra consideration. When people see emergency vehicles, many drivers have a difficult time keeping their eyes on the road. Many people have a tendency to “rubber neck” to see the emergency situation. This can often lead to drivers accidentally driving into and hitting emergency vehicles or emergency personnel. When you see an accident, again, be sure to slow down and move lanes over away from emergency teams.
Slip and Fall Injury on Ice or Melted Snow
When there are snowy conditions abound; be sure to take extra care to prevent injuries due to slipping and falling on ice. One thing we can do as home owners, business owners, or tenants is to help address problem areas. Parking areas, walks, and steps need to have snow removed in a timely manner and salt applied to melt ice areas. Drain pipes, grate covers and catches may become clogged with debris or ice, causing water and melting ice to back up and refreeze in areas that may cause problems.
In areas where people enter our homes or businesses and track in snow or water, these areas can become slippery and cause a slip and fall injury. To avoid this, be sure these areas are kept clean and ensure the appropriate warnings are put in place for problem areas. If you have been injured by slipping on ice or melted snow that could have been avoided by routine maintenance, contact the Advocates right away.