Winters in Massachusetts provide numerous driving challenges, such as snow, ice and longer periods of darkness. It’s a dangerous combination even for the most experienced Northeastern drivers, and certainly for anyone who’s operating a vehicle in Winter conditions for the first time. Ask any insurance adjuster, or personal injury lawyer for that matter, and they’ll no doubt tell you that the incidence and severity of auto accidents increase from December through March.
There are a number of safe driving tips that can be employed during the Winter months to improve the odds of keeping yourself, and other drivers on the road, safe. Every driver has a responsibility to be more cautious during Winter driving conditions. Not doing so when involved in a traffic accident, and especially when personal injuries result, may leave you or the other driver exposed to legal action. To help ensure that doesn’t happen, here are 3 safety tips to implement during wintertime driving.
Winter Safe Driving Tip #1: Visibility Works Both Ways
An absence of normal daytime sunlight, referred to as a low light condition, encompasses not only driving at night, but also wintertime weather manifestations like snow, sleet, rain and fog that can happen during the day. In any low light situation, your vehicle’s headlights should be on. Additionally, before setting out in your car or truck, make sure that your headlights and taillights are cleaned off so that other drivers can see them. For example, if it snowed while you were at work and your vehicle parks outside, take a few minutes and scrape the snow or ice off your light covers before heading down the road.
Secondly, always make sure that your windshield wipers are operational, and the blades actually clean off the glass without streaking. It’s always prudent to replace your wiper blades twice a year. Scrape off your windshield carefully, and also all of the side and rear windows too. In addition, Massachusetts law requires your lights to be on anytime your wipers are being used. Failure to do all of these things sets you up to not see another vehicle, or help other drivers to see you, when Winter conditions are impacting driving.
Winter Safe Driving Tip #2: Adjust Your Driving Technique
We’re all in a rush nowadays, and that’s just a factor of our busy lifestyles. When the pavement is dry and the sun is shining brightly, hurrying about is not as big of an issue as in the Winter months. To ensure safe travels for all, there are some vehicle operating changes that you can implement when driving conditions are poor. Those include:
- On wet pavement double your normal dry pavement vehicle following interval from 4 seconds to 8 seconds.
- Avoid sudden stops or jamming on your brakes.
- Don’t accelerate quickly or attempt to stop abruptly while climbing a hill.
- Reduce your speed. Speed limits are for dry roads!
- Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses.
- Prepare yourself for what to do in the event of skidding or sliding.
- Make sure your tires are for all-weather applications and that the tread is good.
- Use your headlights during all low light driving conditions.
- Just stay home if road conditions are bad.
The above list outlines actions that you can take as a more responsible driver. Auto accidents while driving in Winter weather are going to occur, but implementing these steps may help reduce the odds of those taking place. However, if another driver causes an accident during the Winter that damages your vehicle while also causing injuries to you or your passengers, you may be entitled to compensation under the law.
Winter Safe Driving Tip #3: Know Your Rights When an Accident Happens
When you suspect that you or your loved one have been involved in a Winter driving-related car crash due to negligence by the other driver, you have legal rights. Your personal injuries stemming from that accident, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages may be eligible for compensation under the law. And then you have the repairs or total replacement of your vehicle that must be addressed through a property damage claim. The responsible party’s insurance company will fight against your rights which may result in your case dragging on for months or years in the courts.
At the law firm of Mazow McCullough, P.C., we understand the situation when a driver ignores safe driving tips for Winter and involves you, through their negligence, in an accident. Liability must be proven, and that’s where our experienced attorneys come in. And, we will always go to bat for our clients whenever personal injury and/or property damage is involved, while adamantly seeking any compensation you’re entitled to under the fullest extent of the law. Contact us today at (978) 744-8000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our proven lawyers.