Bronx Attorneys Discuss the Driving Risks Associated with Winter
Winter in the Bronx and throughout New York City can be brutal. Snow, sleet, and freezing rain can hinder your travel plans or significantly increase your commute time. In most cases, navigating wintery roads takes significant caution.
Snow, slushy, icy roads
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), roughly 24 percent of weather-related auto accidents happen when roads are affected by snow, slush, or ice. This results in more than 1,300 traffic fatalities and 116,800 injuries in the US each year.
About 15 percent of accidents happen while snow or sleet is falling. This results in roughly 900 fatalities and 76,000 injuries nationwide each year.
Other risk factors
Winter driving isn’t just about watching out for those slick spots in the road. Drivers should watch out for other hazards such as:
- Blowing snow/white out conditions: This can occur when the wind picks up after a snow storm, as well as during a snow squall or heavy snow storm. Whiteout conditions can cause serious visibility problems for drivers. Additionally, blowing snow can cover the roadways and streets – even after being plowed and salted.
- Wet roads/puddles: Temperatures in New York City can fluctuate this time of year. After receiving a significant amount of snowfall, temperatures could rise above freezing. This can result in the formation of puddles or flooded streets and road ways. Drivers could be at risk of hydroplaning in these conditions.
Not all drivers are responsible
When the road is affected by snow and ice, drivers have less friction to reduce their speed or come to a complete stop. The FHWA notes that freeway speeds are often reduced by 3 to 13 percent on roads affected by light snow. When roads are affected by heavy snow, freeway speed is reduced by 5 to 40 percent. Whether you are driving on the freeway or on a city street, it’s best to adjust to the conditions.
According to the National Safety Council, drivers should do the following when winter weather strikes:
- Avoid using cruise control
- Look and steer in the direction of travel
- Maintain a following distance of 8 to 10 seconds
- Don’t apply your brakes or stop when driving uphill
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly
However, not everybody on the road is as responsible. We have all seen those drivers who completely disregard the weather conditions. They might exceed the speed limit or tailgate other vehicles. Moreover, they may be aware of the risks they take, but may have been doing it for years without any issues. These are the drivers you must watch out for when taking to the roads this time of year.
If you were injured in an auto accident because of someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to speak to an attorney. At Giampa Law, we understand how devastating and frustrating a winter- weather-related crash can be. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured motorists in the Bronx and throughout New York City. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.