By Emmanuel Olawale
Winter is finally here as the cold winds, snowstorms and icy rainfalls become the norm. Driving during winter can be very dangerous, especially during freezing temperatures, snow storms or icy rain. The rate of car accidents increases during winter compared to other seasons because of the slick roads.
Here are a few things you can do to have a safe winter driving experience:
Inspect your tires. If the thread on your tires has eroded, it is time to change your tires. Rotate your tires if their rotation is overdue. This helps to balance out the thread and ensures better traction. Fit your car with winter tires or snow tires. They provide better traction in snow, ice and sleets than regular off-season tires.
If your car was parked outside during a snowstorm or icy rain, clear the front and back windshield and de-ice the side mirrors before you start driving.
When driving, make sure you and all your passengers wear your seat belts.
When it is snowing or the roads are slick, drive slowly and keep a distance of at least two cars between you and the vehicle in the front.
If your car starts sliding on ice, don’t step on the breaks in panic, this will cause you to lose total control. Take your foot off the accelerator to slow the car down. Ease it on the breaks by slowly tapping it, control your car by turning your steering wheels in the direction you are going. If the skid is from the back wheel, turn the steering wheel in the same direction to avoid spinning out of control.
If you crash into another car or other crashes into yours. Move your car to the shoulder or somewhere safe if it is still operable.
Don’t leave your car in the lanes to wait for the police or emergency squad if your car is still operable. Cars left on the road are hazards to other drivers and are the primary causes of secondary crashes, injuries and in some instances, death. Other drivers unaware of your stationary vehicle could crash into yours as the road conditions make it difficult to stop.
If your car is not operable and is in the middle of the road. Don’t stay seated in it. Watch out for traffic and safely exit the car when it is safe to do so. After exiting, do not stand near your car on the road. Find a safe place to wait for the police or emergency squad.
If you are in an accident with another driver and the police could not come to the scene because of the weather.
Take a picture of the license plate of the other car, the scene and the damages if it is safe to do so. If there are witnesses, ask them for their names and phone numbers. Exchange insurance information with the other driver and go to the police station to file a report as soon as possible.
If you are injured, go the Emergency Room or Urgent Care to get checked out as soon as possible to get treated and to rule out any internal injuries. Call your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company to report the crash as soon as possible. Decline to give a recorded statement until you have retained an attorney.
Finally, to preserve your legal rights, contact an experienced personal injury, auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
(Emmanuel Olawale is a personal injury attorney who has recovered over $10 million in settlements and judgments for his clients. He is the principal of the Olawale law Firm located in Westerville, Ohio. He can be contacted at 614-772-4177. For more information visit olawalelaw.com)