New Jersey is a challenging place for driving even in good weather, but wintery conditions can make the state’s roads even more treacherous. Snowstorms are often contributing factors in vehicle accidents and many crashes result in serious injuries or fatalities. Accident victims can seek compensation from the person at fault, but determining liability can be complicated, especially when snow, sleet or hail plays a part in the crash.
Although vigilance at the wheel can often prevent accidents, avoiding other vehicles is more difficult during a snowstorm. Here are a number of things that you can do as a driver to reduce the risk of having an accident:
- Allow more time ― Traffic inevitably slows when there is snow and ice on the roadways. Drive times will naturally take longer. You should allow more time for any trip where the weather might be a factor. Being in a rush to arrive at a destination will likely increase the chances of having an accident.
- Slow down ― Snow and ice on the road can substantially increase stopping distances and adversely affect a vehicle’s handling. In addition, snow and sleet reduce visibility. Slowing down gives you more time to adjust to traffic conditions and avoid accidents.
- Leave more space ― Slippery roads and/or limited visibility reduce driver control, so it is best to leave more space between cars. You should increase following distances by a factor of three or more depending on conditions. The additional stopping space translates into more time to react to traffic conditions ahead.
- Vehicles matter ― Be sure that your vehicle and its accessories are in shape for driving in inclement weather. The tires and handling aid systems (i.e. traction control, anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive) can greatly affect the car’s performance. Making sure the vehicle is properly equipped can help avoid accidents.
- Be prepared ― Despite all precautions, snowstorm accidents can still happen. Make sure every passenger in your vehicles fastens their seat belts or and that appropriate child restraints are used. Keep an emergency kit in the car including a first aid kit, flashlight and traffic warning signal. Even if you are not involved in a crash, traffic might get tied up for hours with road closures. Having blankets, food, water and any necessary medications in the vehicle can make the wait safer and more tolerable. Also, keep plenty of fuel in the vehicle’s tank. Being able to run the engine when stuck in traffic will ensure that you have heat in cold weather.
If you are involved in a New Jersey automobile accident, consult a qualified car accident lawyer to learn about recovering compensation for injuries you or family members have suffered.
Seigel Law in Ridgewood is a premier personal injury law firm, serving clients throughout Northern New Jersey, especially in Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties. Feel free to call us at 201-444-4000 or contact us online for an initial consultation.