As yet another major winter storm hits Texas, drivers are facing hazardous conditions on the road. Snowy and icy weather can create serious risks for motorists and can be contributing factors for accidents during the winter months. For those injured in weather-related crashes, retaining the services of a qualified Houston auto accidents attorney can provide added help in managing necessary medical expenses and in obtaining fair compensation for all damages sustained in these incidents. Here are six strategies for staying safer on the roads this winter.
Snow and ice can be treacherous, especially at higher speeds. Reducing your speed and leaving extra room between your vehicle and others on the road can help you avoid loss of control that can potentially lead to collisions and injuries during inclement winter weather. Lower speeds can also reduce the severity of accidents should they occur and can provide you and your passengers with added safety throughout your journey.
Observe Your Surroundings
Bridges, overpasses and roadways with full exposure to wind can quickly become hazardous in icy or snowy weather. These areas are often colder than the surrounding streets and highways and can quickly become icy and slick from winter precipitation. Staying aware of the changing road conditions and maintaining a safe rate of speed can help you avoid being an accident statistic this winter.
Brake with Caution
Most modern cars and trucks feature anti-lock braking systems that automatically pump the brakes much more quickly than possible through manual depression of the pedal. This can prevent brakes from locking up and skidding on ice or packed snow. Anti-lock brakes typically include a number of interconnected systems:
- Sensors that determine the speed of the vehicle
- Brake line valves that regulate alternating pressure throughout the braking process
- The brake pump provides the power behind the valves to stop the vehicle
- A computerized controller oversees all of these systems to ensure the most effective braking in a wide range of driving conditions
Even vehicles with anti-lock braking can skid or slide at higher speeds. When possible, slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator pedal rather than hitting the brakes. This can significantly reduce the risk of an uncontrolled skid or slide during winter weather.
Steer Into the Slide
If your car or truck does begin to slide on ice or snow, turn your steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Generally, this is the direction in which the rear of your vehicle is drifting. Be careful not to overcorrect and cause a slide in the opposite direction; slow, steady movements of your steering wheel can often help you to regain control of your vehicle and reduce the risk of an accident.
Minimize Drive Time
While staying home during every inclement weather event is not practical for most people, reducing the amount of time you are out and about is a practical way to increase your safety on the road. Putting off nonessential trips and activities can significantly reduce your chances of being in an accident during major winter storms.
Get Out of the Way
If an accident does occur during this most recent winter storm, it is critical to move yourself and your vehicle out of the path of traffic if possible. Chain-reaction accidents often occur after a minor fender-bender blocks one or more lanes of traffic during snowy or icy conditions. Because visibility is often limited during winter storms, other cars and trucks on the road may not have a chance to stop in time to avoid the stopped vehicles. At a minimum, stay off the roadway and move away from your car if you are involved in a collision during inclement winter weather.
Consulting with a qualified Houston traffic accident lawyer can help you achieve fair compensation for injuries and losses sustained in winter weather collisions. Houston auto accident and personal injury attorneys specialize in providing support for victims and their families in obtaining the best possible settlements and outcomes and in achieving positive closure on these unfortunate events.