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Rhode Island Automobile Accidents And Icy Roads

It is no secret that the rate of automobile accidents increases by substantial percentages when icy and snow-packed road conditions are present. Some of these accidents can be minor ones, with a small dent in the vehicle and some frazzled nerves of the drivers and passengers. Others, unfortunately, can end in serious injury or even death.

Types of Injuries – Icy Road Accidents

Two of the most serious types of injuries that can result from bad winter car accidents include traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Both of these injuries can have permanent, life-changing effects that forever alter a victim’s ability to think, eat, walk and work.

Automobile accidents on icy roads are unfortunately common during winter months or in regions with cold climates. Icy roads create hazardous driving conditions, significantly increasing the risk of accidents. Here are some factors contributing to accidents on icy roads and tips on how to stay safe:

Factors contributing to accidents on icy roads:

  1. Reduced Traction: Icy roads result in reduced traction between tires and the road surface, making it challenging to maintain control of the vehicle.
  2. Increased Stopping Distance: Vehicles take longer to come to a complete stop on icy roads due to reduced friction.
  3. Limited Visibility: Snow and ice can reduce visibility, making it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles, road signs, or obstacles.
  4. Black Ice: A thin layer of ice, often referred to as black ice, can be nearly invisible and extremely slippery, catching drivers off guard.
  5. Inexperienced Drivers: Drivers who are not accustomed to winter driving conditions may struggle to adapt to the challenges posed by icy roads.

Tips for staying safe on icy roads:

  1. Reduce Speed: Slow down and drive at a speed appropriate for the road conditions. Speed limits are based on ideal conditions, so it’s crucial to adjust your speed during adverse weather.
  2. Increase Following Distance: Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you to allow for longer stopping distances.
  3. Use Winter Tires: Equip your vehicle with winter tires designed to provide better traction on icy surfaces.
  4. Brake Gently: Avoid sudden or hard braking, as this can lead to skidding. Apply brakes gently and steadily.
  5. Avoid Cruise Control: Use caution with cruise control on icy roads, as it may interfere with your ability to react quickly.
  6. Stay Informed: Check weather and road condition updates before traveling. If conditions are severe, consider postponing your trip.
  7. Stay Visible: Ensure all lights on your vehicle are functioning correctly, and use headlights even during daylight hours to improve visibility.
  8. Carry Emergency Supplies: Keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle, including items like blankets, food, water, a flashlight, and a first aid kit.
  9. Steer Into a Skid: If your vehicle starts to skid, steer in the direction you want to go. Avoid overcorrecting, as it can lead to loss of control.
  10. Plan Ahead: If possible, plan your route to avoid steep hills, bridges, and poorly maintained roads during icy conditions.

Remember, the key to safe driving on icy roads is to be cautious, adapt to the conditions, and prioritize safety over speed. If conditions are severe, it’s often best to stay off the roads until they improve.

Types of Accidents Due to Icy Conditions

Some of the most common types of serious accidents that occur on icy roads include:

  • Read-end collisions
  • Rollover accidents
  • Accidents involving a tractor-trailer or other large truck
  • Collision with man-made objects, such as telephone poles or traffic medians
  • Pedestrian-automobile accidents

Why Ice and Snow are So Dangerous for Motorists

As most of us know, driving on ice means it will typically take you much longer to come to a stop than on a road clear of ice and snow. It is much easier to lose control of a vehicle on icy roads, and a car on a patch of ice will take several moments longer to move forward, if it can at all. (This is called a spin-out.) Traction is always an issue when driving on snow and ice.

Another hazard is the term “black ice,” which is nearly invisible to drivers. This is when ice forms over a surface without air bubbles and the ice becomes transparent, taking on the color of the surface below it.

Overconfident drivers can also be a problem. The advances in four-wheel and all-wheel drive technology can make drivers less cautious than they should be.

When another Party is Responsible

Automobile accidents in ice and snow are often the direct result of someone else’s negligence. Just a few examples of these types of situations include:

  • Lack of warning signs on icy roads and bridges
  • Inadequate use of road-safety treatments for ice and snow, such as magnesium chloride and sand
  • Other automobile operator driving at unsafe speeds for conditions
  • Debris left in the roadway
  • Other accidents not cleared in a timely manner



Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.

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