Staying safe on the road during Connecticut’s long winter

Are you ready for the winter driving season?

Whether we're ready or not, winter weather is almost upon us. Connecticut generally has a temperate climate, but our winters still come with below-freezing temperatures and snow, particularly in the northern regions of the state. The snow and days of cold weather can make for nasty road conditions which can, in turn, lead to car accidents. Being prepared for winter driving can make any trips you take in the cold-weather months safer.

Is your vehicle well-maintained?

Are your brakes in proper working order? Have your hoses and belts been checked recently? Do you have good tread on your tires? Do you have adequate levels of antifreeze and windshield washer fluid/de-icer? Are your defrosters working well? If the answer to any of these questions is "no," then you should take your vehicle in for routine maintenance. Having a well-maintained vehicle is key to safety, especially in the difficult winter driving season. After all, bald tires don't have traction, bad brakes can't stop your vehicle, and you can't see out of a frozen windshield.

Understanding the key hazards

The two biggest hazards of winter driving are snow and ice. Falling and blowing snow lessen visibility and create a slippery road surface that can lead to multi-car crashes. Every year it seems we see news footage of massive accidents that happened in white-out conditions. If visibility isn't good, strongly consider just staying at home until the storm passes.

Falling snow isn't the only issue associated with the "white stuff," though. Drifting and blowing snow lessen visibility as well, and they can blur road lines and edges, making it easier to drive off the road or cross the center line into oncoming traffic. Driving according to the conditions (slower speed, increased following distance, paying close attention) can make it easier to stop and easier to take evasive maneuvers if necessary.

Snow also compacts onto the roadway, creating bumps and divots akin to driving over a series of potholes. It's hard to get traction on such a surface, and you could lose control or skid trying to navigate a roadway in that condition. Slowing down can give you more time to react in order to avoid an accident, and it allows your tires more time to connect with the road surface.

Ice is also another big winter driving hazard. Black ice in particular is almost impossible to see, and it is treacherous when your vehicle hits it. It's easy to spin out or skid if you hit a patch of ice. Should that occur, try to look and steer in the direction you want to go.

Moving forward after an accident

Accidents are still possible due to the reckless or negligent actions of another driver, whether the weather is cold or hot. If you've been hurt in a crash caused by a distracted, drunk, speeding or otherwise negligent driver, you may have a long road ahead of you. It can be difficult trying to balance your physical recovery while trying to have your vehicle repaired, get your medical bills paid and deal with insurance adjusters. That's where we come in, though. Moore, O'Brien & Foti is here to help handle the legal aspects of your car accident recovery so that you can focus your energy and attention on getting better. Call us today at 203-651-7096 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.