Snow and Ice Increase Traffic Accident Risks on Massachusetts Roads

Winter may be one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), you not only want to make sure that you vehicle is in good-running condition during this time, but you also want to make sure that you take a moment to refresh our winter-driving skills. With snow and ice, our risks for an accident skyrocket.
Our Boston car accident lawyers understand that there are close to 250,000 car accidents each and every year because of snow and sleet. In these accidents, close to 71,000 people are injured and close to 900 are killed, according to the Road Weather Management Program. Icy pavement does just about as much damage, accounting for approximately 190,000 accidents annually, with close to 63,000 injuries and 700 fatalities.

One of the biggest mistakes that drivers tend to make when driving during winter in Massachusetts is to try and out-drive weather conditions. The posted speed limits are intended for dry pavement, so adjust your speed according to the snow, freezing rain or wind. Before you leave on a trip, find out about current road conditions by calling 511 from your cell phone.

More than 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions, which average more than five inches of snowfall annually, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in these snowy regions. Overall, about a quarter of weather-related car crashes happen on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, while about 20 percent happen as snow or sleet fell.

Winter Driving Safety Tips:

-Make sure your vehicle is equipped with a Winter Emergency Car Kit. In this kit should be flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, water, gloves, boots and a first-aid kit.

-Always travel with at least half a tank of gas.

-Make sure that you have winter tires on your vehicle and they’re in good condition.

-Check your windshield wipers to make sure they’re working properly and make sure that your windshield is always clean. You may need to add concentrated windshield washer fluid to the windshield washer fluid reservoir to prevent an icy windshield.

-Plan out your trip before heading out, whether a long road trip or a short ride to work. Check weather, traffic and road conditions.

-When snowy or icy, decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

-Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

-Watch out for snow plows. On multi-lane roadways, snow plows often need to clear the center, throwing snow, ice and slush into nearby lanes. If approaching an on-coming snow plow, slow down and give the plow a little extra room.

If you or a loved one was involved in a motor-vehicle accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777 today.

More Blog Entries:

Keeping Teen Drivers Safe with “5 to Drive”, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 18, 2013

Multiple Accidents Back Up Interstate 93 South, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 13, 2013

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