Car Accidents

Upcoming cold and icy weather can mean big trouble for motorists

Fall is quickly giving way to winter, and we’ve already seen a bit of what may be in store for us this season, with fog and rain across Ohio roadways. It can save lives to drive carefully and vigilantly throughout the year, but extra caution is always needed when driving in adverse weather conditions.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety reports that bad-weather crashes are a particular problem for our state. Last year there were 256 fatal accidents and 16,729 accidents causing injury in cloudy weather. The other conditions that could be attributed to increased accidents were rain, snow and fog. When speed and unsafe driving are brought into the mix, there is the potential for disaster.

Huge accident caused on icy freeway

As the weather gets colder, the roads in Ohio are bound to get more dangerous. Last January, an accident on I-275 near Cincinnati resulted in a pile-up of up to 87 vehicles. The pile-up was caused by sudden icy roads and limited visibility, reported NBC News. At least 60 cars and 16 semi-trucks spun out on the freeway, resulting in 20 people being hospitalized and, tragically, the death of a 12-year-old girl. Authorities said many cars were trapped under commercial trucks. Speed and careless driving may have been a couple of factors that contributed, with the weather, to the shocking incident.

This can be a sobering reminder for drivers to be safe while driving in wet or foggy weather, says AAA. When the roadway is wet, there is a danger of cars sliding on slippery streets or hydroplaning – riding on a thin film of water. This can happen at speeds as low as 30 miles per hour. Drivers should slow down whenever there’s water on the road. If the car starts to skid, avoid braking suddenly, and ease off the accelerator instead until traction is regained. If necessary, drivers should pull over until the bad weather has lessened.

The National Safety Council reports that speed is a large factor for crashes in adverse weather conditions. A driver can be charged for driving too fast for conditions, even if he or she is going the speed limit in dangerous weather. Some tips for driving safely in bad weather, according to TeensHealth, include:

  • Keeping headlights on when visibility is low.
  • Increasing the following distance.
  • Slowing down in rainy, foggy or snowy weather.
  • Preparing the car for bad weather conditions, including making sure there is enough wiper fluid and tires are properly inflated.
  • Using fog lamps, not high beams, in fog.

The best way to avoid an accident in bad weather is simply to avoid going out if at all possible, until the roads clear up.

Contacting an attorney

Despite the best precautions, it isn’t always possible to prevent an accident, especially when bad weather conditions are involved. Other drivers can cause crashes by driving recklessly or speeding when the roads are bad. If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone’s poor driving in bad weather, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to find out what your rights are.