Winter Driving Tips for North Dakotans
16th November 2020
Common Winter Accidents
At least 1,300 people are killed and 116,800 people are injured each year in winter related accidents across the United States. Driving in the winter can be scary, especially if you aren’t properly prepared for it. If you’re the parent of a young driver, make sure you teach them how to drive in the winter, if it’s their first time. Enforce the safe driving tips listed below, as they may be uncomfortable or uncertain on snowy or slippery roads.
Accidents in the winter are avoidable, whether it be by preparing your car ahead of time, learning how to drive in dangerous conditions, or simply staying home when you know it’s too dangerous to drive at all. However, the most common causes of winter car accidents include icy roads, poor visibility, bad tires, snow or slush, poorly maintained roads.
Icy roads, especially black ice, can cause vehicles to slip and slide even when there’s not an ongoing storm. Black ice blends in with the pavement and can be almost invisible. An inexperienced driver may not know how to keep their car from sliding and causing an accident.
During a snowstorm, it can be incredibly hard to see, especially at night. Turning on your high beams often makes visibility worse, so avoid using them. When visibility is bad, the best thing to do is keep off the roads. If you have to drive, make sure you’re doing so safely.
Bare tires can also easily cause an accident. Make sure you’re using snow tires and/or snow chains so your car has the best traction possible. If you’re driving with bald tires, your car is much more likely to slide all over the place.
You should also stick to highways if you can, as they’re maintained better than back roads and other city roads. Back roads may not be plowed well, and may have too much snow/slush on them to drive safely.
Be Aware of Potential Road Hazards
Before you get in the car, think about all the potential road hazards you might face along the way. If it seems like driving will be too dangerous and you have the option to stay home, you should. Make sure that you’re well equipped and ready for anything that could go wrong. For example, if you don’t know how to drive properly in the snow or you don’t have experience driving in winter weather, staying home is probably your best option.
As stated above, road hazards such as black ice, blizzards, and snow and slush can cause accidents. Many accidents may occur while a storm is going on, but accidents can happen when it’s not snowing too. Black ice can form after rain and roads may still be slippery for a day or two after a big snowstorm. Check your local news to remain informed about driving conditions.
Prepare for the Worst
If you get into a car accident during the winter months, you need to be prepared with an emergency kit. You may have to wait for a long period of time for the police to arrive. And depending on how badly your car is damaged, you may not have access to heat. You should pack extra layers, like jackets and blankets, as well as water and snacks in the trunk of your car. You should also include a flashlight, extra battery for your cell phone, gloves/mittens, snow boots, energy bars, and a first aid kit.
Before you leave the house you should also let someone know where you’re going and what route you’re taking. Make sure they know how long it should take you to get there, and text them when you arrive.
Winter-Proof Your Vehicle
Before winter starts, you want to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road. That means checking your tires to make sure they’re snow ready. You’ll either want to switch to snow tires or put snow chains on your all-season tires. You’ll also want to make sure you have your car packed with a snow shovel in case you get stuck somewhere, salt bags, an ice scraper, and a jump starter. Winter accidents will be a lot worse if you aren’t prepared ahead of time.
What Happens if You Get into an Accident in the Winter?
If you get into an accident in the winter time, your insurance may cover any damage that you do to your own vehicle and if you’re injured. If your accident is caused because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. Negligent driving in the winter can include not properly preparing a car for the snow, being an inexperienced driver, and not driving safely in bad weather conditions. Car accidents can lead to severe injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and even death. Getting into a car accident can cause you to accumulate medical debt. However, an experienced attorney can help you recover damages from your accident.
Contact a North Dakota Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in the winter because of someone else’s negligence, please contact us. We can help you form your lawsuit, collect your medical and police records, negotiate your settlement, and argue your case. Here at Sand Law we’re ready to take the weight off of your shoulders so you can focus on recovering. Please contact us online using our chat option or by calling us at 701-609-1510.