Car Accident Injuries Often a Result of Harsh Winter Driving Conditions
By Chris Kramer
Drivers need to be more careful during the winter as inclement weather conditions may increase the likelihood of serious car accident injuries that could lead to future personal injury cases.
The first snowstorm of the winter season hit the Midwest and other parts of the country last week, leading to icy roads, tricky driving conditions, minor car accident injuries and a couple of deaths.
- Police in New Hartford, New York responded to 11 weather-related car accidents between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, December 4th. Three to five of those accidents occurred on Valley View Road, which was closed down for a half hour after several cars slid into a ditch. Luckily, there were no serious car accident injuries, and a snowplow cleared the road. Later that day, a Hartford bus slid down a hill and smashed into an unoccupied park car.
Sergeant Robert Philo said that most of these accidents occurred because people seemed reluctant to slow down. "They don't have the respect they need for winter weather conditions," Philo was quoted as saying in the Utica Observer Dispatch story.
Such disregard to poor driving conditions can be very dangerous to fellow cautious drivers as icy conditions can result in fender benders, which may lead to back, neck, whiplash and other related car accident injuries.
- The Columbia Police Department received around 110 calls about weather-related car accidents from Thursday to Monday, according to Sgt. Tim Moriarity in a story in the Columbia Missourian. Moriarity said that most of the accidents were fender-benders resulting from cars sliding in ice, and was also quoted as saying that he thought "most people were not adjusting well to the weather."
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin was hit with 10.1 inches of snow on the first day of December, which was a state record for that date according to the Journal Sentinel. Weather-related conditions caused several minor car accidents while some drivers were left spinning their wheels in snow embankments.
- Bloomberg News reported that at least two car accident deaths were linked to the storm as of the first of the month. According to the Oklahoma Office of Civil Emergency Management, one person was killed in a weather-related accident while 10 other people were injured. A snow plow in Missouri appeared to have struck a van transporting a prisoner, who was killed, according to a member of the Missouri Emergency Management Agency.
- Bloomberg also noted that a stretch of Interstate 70 between St. Louis and Kansas City and more than half of the roads in Missouri were covered with snow at one point during the storm, forcing snow plow drivers to pull off the roads for their own safety.
The above examples reveal just how tricky winter driving can be. With that said, it is best for drivers to avoid icy roads if possible, and if they must travel via car, to allow themselves 15-20 extra minutes to get to work and to drive with added caution.
And while the weather can play a large part in winter car accident injuries, it may not be an excuse for those people who are driving negligently, whether it be speeding on icy patches of ice or endangering other drivers by purposely "fish-tailing" or "spinning-out" in the snow.
With winter driving comes even more responsibility when sitting behind the wheel. Conversely, if you've sustained car accident injuries from another driver neglecting the winter driving conditions or because of poorly maintained roads, you may be entitled to personal injury damages just as you would be in normal driving conditions. A personal injury attorney in your area may be able to provide further assistance.