After the first storm of the season, Massachusetts State Police are urging drivers to clean their cars completely of snow before getting onto the roads.
New England saw several inches of accumulated snowfall last weekend as well as heavy snowfall last night, some areas totaling as much as 4 – 5 inches. Since these two storms mark the first big storms of the winter, state and local officials are reminding drivers of the importance of clearing cars of snow. Accumulating layers of snowfall on top of cars is especially dangerous because it can slide off and blind you or go through a fellow drivers’ windshield. Additionally, state officials caution drivers to take extra precautions when there’s snow on the ground.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that nearly one quarter of all car accidents (1.5 million) in the United States are caused by weather-winter is the most dangerous season. Winter weather including snow, sleet, and frigid temperatures contribute to hazardous road conditions. Ice and black ice are products of wet weather and freezing temperatures are the main culprits behind the majority of serious weather-related incidents.
Winter driving safety tips:
– Always winterize your car; change your tires, replace windshield wipers, and make sure your brakes, defroster, heater, exhaust system, and lights all work properly. Also, stock up on emergency supplies (first aid kit, flares, spare tire, winter clothing, and extra food) just in case you are involved in an accident or become stranded in a storm and are unable to get to a safe location.
– Adjust your speed while driving. It doesn’t matter how late you are to get somewhere-unless it’s 50 degrees and clear, always reduce your speed, especially when the roads are wet or there is snow on the ground.
– Increase your stopping distance. When roads are slick, you’ll need at least 3 times more distance to stop. Always make sure there is enough space between you and the car in front.
– Watch out for hazardous sections of roadways. Bridges, overpasses, and shaded spots often form ice before other parts of the road.
– Bring your cell phone with you, in case you get into an accident or have an emergency while driving.
– Keep your windshield and windows clear. Make sure there’s a snow brush or scraper in your car at all times.
– Don’t cruise. Using cruise control when driving on a snowy surface increases the risk of hydroplaning as well as decreases the ability to react in time.
– Fill up on gas. A fuller gas tank prevents your car’s gas-line from freezing.
– Don’t slam on your brakes. In winter weather, sudden braking often leads to skids.
– Check the exhaust pipe. Double-check that your exhaust is clear of snow or debris before getting on the road. A blocked pipe may cause carbon monoxide gas to leak into your car while the engine is running.
– Drive with your lights on. Keep your lights on low when driving in the snow.
– Don’t pass snowplows. Some snowplows have wing plow blades that can extend anywhere between 2 and 10 feet beyond the width of the truck. This wing plow blade is often not seen because of the snow cloud being kicked up by the snowplow. These wing plows can often weigh as much as a compact car.
The attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman have been handling all types of auto accident cases for nearly 50 years. If you or a loved one was the victim of a car accident, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Boston Car Accident Lawyers to discuss filing a claim. Our staff is available around the clock to answer any and all of your questions, and all initial consultations are absolutely free and confidential.