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Winter Means Increased Crash Risk

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Winter Means Increased Crash Risk

Alan Haburchak
December 15, 2007

Alan Haburchak

Winter brings with it the challenge of driving in hazardous conditions as well as the opportunity to engage in winter outdoor sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. Whether you are driving during severe weather or enjoying the fun after the storm, there are many inherent risks that can result in personal injury.

It is not too surprising that the leading cause of death during severe winter weather is the result of motor vehicle accidents. However, by learning and adhering to safe winter driving practices, many accidents can be avoided in cold, wet, or snowy conditions.

Be Prepared

Both drivers and their automobiles must be prepared for winter driving.

Safe Winter Driving Tips

Poor visibility and icy and snowy roads require extra caution to ensure winter driving safety. Important winter driving tips to remember and put into practice when driving in winter weather are:

* Wear your seat belt (in all seasons, not just winter)!

* Remove all snow and ice from windows, headlights, roof and hood.

* Turn on your headlights - to see and be seen.

* Slow down! Drive at a speed that is safe for the conditions. Posted speed limits are meant for clear, dry roads.

* Beware of bridges and overpasses. They get icy before the road and can be icy even when the road is not.

* Be aware of what "black ice" is and how to recognize it.Black ice is a thin layer of ice that is almost invisible and can be mistaken for dry pavement (usually forms when snow has melted and re-freezes). It can cause extremely serious car crashes.

* Take care when accelerating so you do not lose control, even if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle.

* Leave plenty of room for stopping. This can be especially critical for four-wheel drive vehicles which can get up more speed, but cannot stop any faster than other vehicles. In fact, given that many of these vehicles are heavier, they may take longer to stop.

* Do not pump anti-lock brakes. Instead, "stomp and steer."

* Do not use cruise control in winter weather.

* Stay at least 200 feet behind a snowplow.

* Be alert. Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness. Do not drive if tired, since winter driving can cause mental and physical fatigue, which reduces reaction time.

* Avoid distractions, such as talking on cell phones.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Winterize your car by checking at least the fluid levels, wiper blades, tire tread and pressure, oil (level and proper grade), battery, lights, and antifreeze

Other Winter Traveling Tips

When traveling in winter weather, fill your gasoline tank and do not let it run low. Keep several other items on hand in case you become stranded such as a blanket, warm clothes, flashlight with extra batteries, flare, cell phone or citizens band (CB) radio, small shovel, sand or cat litter (for traction), and jumper cables.

After the Storm - Enjoying the Snow Snowmobile Safety

Snowmobile accidents account for a large number of serious winter sports accidents. Most serious snowmobile injuries are to males under the age of 20, and most snowmobile accidents can be prevented. The state of Wisconsin reports that alcohol is a contributing factor to most snowmobile accident deaths.

Safe snowmobile tips include slowing down, avoiding alcohol, staying on marked trails, and avoiding going across bodies of water because the thickness of the ice varies due to water currents and changing weather conditions.

Skiing and Snowboarding

The most common injuries for people in snowboarding or skiing accidents are head injuries, which are also the most common cause of death in skiers and snowboarders aged seven to 17.

Safety tips for skiing and snowboarding include:

* Wearing a helmet.

* Viewing the route ahead to avoid obstacles and collisions with others.

* Avoiding crowed areas to reduce risk of collision.

* Being in good physical condition.

If you have been involved in a snowmobile crash or other winter accident, contact an experienced snowboard attorney to find out more about your legal rights. You may be ableto file a snowmobile crash lawsuit and obtain monetary compensation for damages sustained during a snowmobile crash or other winter accident.

LegalView.com, your source for everything legal on the Web, provides users with information on everything from finding a mesothelioma lawyer to determining the right construction accident law firm. Those suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can find out medical information and how to locate a http://brain-injury.legalview.com . For more legal information visit http://www.legalview.com/ .

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