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RI Car Accidents Caused by Snow, Ice and Freezing Rain

Some of the most treacherous driving conditions occur during the winter season when temperatures fall to freezing or below. Ice, sleet, freezing rain, and snow are some of the hazards that may develop in the winter time and create slippery roads. Drivers who are completing a normally easy commute to work, the grocery store, or picking their kids up from school may suddenly find themselves losing control of their vehicle. Knowing some key warnings and safety tips may help to reduce your chances of a bad weather accident.

Warnings to Heed

Ice is an especially difficult condition to negotiate on the roads. Snow and sleet often appear white and can be easily seen on the road in patches, but ice can freeze as a clear sheet and remain undetected by approaching drivers. Drivers are typically cautious around snow and sleet, but if they do not realize that there is ice up ahead they may not take the necessary precautions., such as:

  • Always look for warning signs posted that alert drivers of ice patches or detours
  • Watch the vehicles ahead of you as a sign of ice up ahead
  • Avoid a particular lane if you see a vehicle slipping or sliding ahead
  • Look for shiny patches on the road that may indicate ice

Car accidents caused by snow, ice, and freezing rain are common during winter weather conditions. These elements can create hazardous road conditions, leading to a variety of accidents. Here are some factors that contribute to car accidents in winter weather:

  1. Slippery Roads: Snow and ice on the road reduce traction, making it easier for vehicles to slide or skid. This can result in vehicles losing control and colliding with other vehicles, objects, or barriers.
  2. Reduced Visibility: Snowfall and freezing rain can reduce visibility on the road. Limited visibility makes it challenging for drivers to see other vehicles, road signs, and obstacles, increasing the risk of accidents.
  3. Black Ice: Thin layers of ice, known as black ice, can form on road surfaces, especially during freezing rain. Black ice is difficult to see and can catch drivers off guard, leading to sudden skids or accidents.
  4. Snow Accumulation: Accumulation of snow on the road can create obstacles and uneven surfaces. Drivers may struggle to navigate through thick snow, and this can contribute to accidents.
  5. Icy Bridges and Overpasses: Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze faster than other road surfaces because they are exposed to cold air from both the top and bottom. This makes them more prone to ice formation, increasing the risk of accidents.
  6. Braking Challenges: Snow and ice can make braking less effective. Vehicles may skid or take longer to come to a stop, especially if drivers are not adjusting their speed and following distances accordingly.

To reduce the risk of accidents during winter weather, it’s important for drivers to take precautions such as:

  • Drive at a reduced speed: Slow down to allow for increased stopping distance and better control.
  • Increase following distance: Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front to allow for extra reaction time.
  • Use winter tires: These tires are designed for better traction on snow and ice.
  • Clear snow and ice from your vehicle: Ensure that your windows, mirrors, and lights are clear for optimal visibility.

It’s crucial for drivers to stay informed about weather conditions, follow traffic advisories, and exercise caution when driving in winter weather. Additionally, local authorities may implement measures such as road closures or advisories to enhance safety during adverse weather conditions.

Safety Tips

If at all possible, it is of course ideal to avoid the bad weather altogether and stay put until it passes. Many times though it’s not possible to entirely avoid bad weather. If you must travel on the roads when temperatures are hovering at are below freezing and have not yet been treated with sand or salt, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep it slow. One of the greatest dangers to bad weather traffic is speed. By slowing down even just 10 miles per hour, you could drastically reduce your risk of losing control. Slow speeds also mean that in the event of an accident, the damage is likely to be much less severe.
  • Brake sparingly. Braking too often can actually cause more problems than it will solve. Reserve your braking for turns, and slow down and brake before the turn. Braking while turning could cause your wheels to lose traction and send your car careening out of control.
  • Steer into your slide. If your car begins to slide on ice, turn your steering wheel in the same direction that the rear of your car is sliding. This helps you to regain control of the vehicle and minimize spinning on the ice.

For More Information

To learn more about driving safety tips and accident liability, please visit the website of the experienced RHODE ISLAND attorneys of Slepkow  LAW today.

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