The snow was accumulating quickly and the roadways became icy. As the snow blew across the road, drivers became unable to see the vehicles in front of them. This was the scene on Saturday in western Pennsylvania as heavy snow and wind created whiteout conditions causing accidents involving more than 50 vehicles.
Despite the mild winter, motorists should always be prepared for wintry conditions – snow, ice, wind. Driving during the winter can be quite hazardous; about 70 percent of all winter related auto accident fatalities occur when vehicles slide or lose control on slippery roadways. Speed and inattentiveness in all types of weather cause the majority of accidents; add precipitation, slippery roads, and limited visibility, and things can get real messy on the roadways.
Because winter weather conditions are often unpredictable, drivers must always be prepared. Although the best driving tip may be to stay home, this is often times unrealistic. It is always good to remind ourselves how safely navigate through the winter season especially when we become lax by the mild winter weather.
- Make sure your vehicle is stocked with a “winter survival kit” – ice/snow scraper, blankets, warm clothing and gloves, spare tire, antifreeze, non-perishable food items, first aid kit, and a cell phone charger, to name a few.
- Take extra time to clear your vehicle from snow and ice build-up and allow extra time to reach your destination.
- Drive defensively. Be aware of your surroundings. Spin outs may happen, suddenly, without warning. Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Be careful not to drive in another vehicle's blind spot.
- Decrease your speed and leave plenty of room to stop. Brake gently to avoid skidding and accelerate slowly to avoid loss of traction and control. Turn slowly, with caution, to avoid sliding.
- Always be alert to the possibility of “black ice” when temperatures are near or below freezing. Remember, it takes longer to stop on ice.
- Don't use your cruise control or overdrive in slick conditions, and remember that four- and all-wheel drive will not help you to steer or stop better when the roads are icy.
- Avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, texting, eating, changing the radio.
- Don't drink and drive.
The most important factors to remember is to stay alert, slow down, and stay in control. You may prevent an accident; you may save your life and the lives of others.
Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.