The winter storm that swept the East coast last week left behind more than an accumulation of snow: it left a trail of automobile accident injuries and even deaths. Of course, car accidents always present a risk in a densely-populated area like New York City. About 12,000 New Yorkers are hospitalized after car accidents each year, at an annual cost of more than $700 million. However, winter weather brings special hazards, and not all New York drivers take the proper precautions.
In 2014, more than 25,000 New York motor vehicle accidents were attributed to slippery pavement, and more than 5,100 to limited visibility. But, the fact that winter weather contributed to an accident doesn’t mean it was nobody’s fault. There are clear measures drivers can and should take when driving in the winter, and failing to protect against hazards like icy roadways and low visibility is negligent.
While winter weather offers up a wide range of hazards, just a few extra safety measures can make a big difference.
One common cause of winter automobile accidents in New York is black ice. Black ice earns its name by being virtually invisible on the roadway, thus taking an unwary driver by surprise when he or she hits a patch at full speed. Black ice is a fact of New York life in winter, and can occur even when there hasn’t been recent precipitation, so it pays to proceed with caution even if you don’t see obvious hazards.
While black ice presents a special danger, plain old slippery roads are responsible for many auto accidents as well. Even if your car seems to be handling well on an icy or snowy road, remember that conditions can change abruptly—for instance, there may be patches of ice under the snow. Braking may also trigger a slide, so it’s very important to leave plenty of space between you and the next car, even at relatively low rates of speed.
Something about bad driving conditions seems to inspire some drivers to hurry. Of course, that’s the last thing you should do when you can’t see far in front of you. Slow down, leave ample distance between cars and be vigilant. It’s also critical that your lines of vision are clear, so make sure to remove ice and snow from your windows and mirrors and to maintain your wipers and defroster in good working order.
Occasionally, an accident happens even though the driver has exercised care in maintaining his equipment and operating the vehicle. However, most car accidents could have been avoided if the driver had just slowed down, watched more closely, left more distance between cars or taken other simple precautions.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to pursue compensation.
If another driver failed to exercise due care on New York’s winter roads and you’ve been injured as a result, schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how we can help. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damages, pain and suffering and other losses.