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Oct. 26, 2020, a cold front brought wintry weather to West Texas that left area roads covered in ice. As a result, there more than 70 weather-related car accidents in Lubbock that occurred between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.—prompting the City of Lubbock to shut down several roads.
At least 17% of all vehicle crashes happen during the winter months. Unfortunately, many people don’t take into account how dangerous driving in inclement weather can be. For most of the United States, driving on icy roads or in snowy conditions is just part of life. In fact, more than 70% of U.S. roads are in snow regions. On average, these regions receive more than five inches of snowfall every year. While snow is rare in places like South Texas, freak weather events can lead to several inches of snow. Knowing what to do during icy road driving that will keep you and your family safe as we move further into the winter season.
Icy roads require a level of patience that many of us aren’t used to when we’re behind the wheel. We have to drive slower and use much more caution when operating our motor vehicles. But even the most patient driver isn’t always prepared for the unexpected conditions of icy roads. For example, while a road may seem like it isn’t covered in ice, there is always the possibility of a thin coating of ice, often referred to as black ice or clear ice, that can increase the risk of slippage and accidents.
It’s easy to overreact when you’re driving and lose control of your vehicle. However, being well prepared for such an event can save you the heartache of a crash and related injuries.
How many car accidents occur because of icy roads?
Every year, there about 156,000 crashes because of icy roads—killing at least 1,300 people. In addition, more than 116,800 people suffer injuries from car crashes on snow or icy roads.
According to research compiled over a 24 year period by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration or (NHTSA), December is the month with the highest number of traffic fatalities during the winter months. The deadliest time period peaks around Christmas and is followed by New Years’. This time period is second to only the July 4 holiday.
8 Tips for Driving on Icy Roads
If you’re taking a long road trip to visit family, it’s important that you know what to do. We’ve compiled the following tips for families who will hit the road to travel for the holiday season.
1. Make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter driving.
Winterizing your vehicle can mean different things for different regions of the United States. But, it remains important to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic to ensure your vehicle is well-maintained. Winterizing your vehicle will optimize your safety and your vehicle’s efficiency during the colder months.
2. Pay attention to the weather.
When you’re traveling, it’s important that you stay informed on the shifting weather patterns you’ll be driving through. Awareness of conditions will keep you prepared for any situation.
3. Slow down.
Despite what many believe, no one has the skill to drive at normal speeds on icy roads.
4. Turn into a slide.
If you are driving and begin fishtailing or sliding, it usually means that you are driving too fast. Reducing your speed will reduce the chances of this happening.
5. Wear your seatbelt.
At least four out of five car crashes happen at speeds less than 40 miles per hour. In addition, people have been killed at speeds less than 12 miles per hour when not wearing their seatbelts by being ejected from vehicles. Wearing your seatbelt is critical every time you get in the car. But with the dangers of sliding on ice, it becomes that much more important.
6. Be gentle with braking.
Braking is the most common cause of loss of vehicle control. Antilock brakes do not work well on ice and snow. Often, the system will lock up your wheels regardless. Sliding wheels cannot be controlled by the steering wheel.
7. Be aware of your surroundings.
A common occurrence in icy road accidents is when an out-of-control vehicle hits you.
8. The most important tip about driving on icy roads is don’t.
Seriously. Better safe than sorry can’t be a more true statement when it comes to driving on icy roads. The best way to avoid accidents on icy roads is to simply stay off of them. While icy roads are an inconvenience, nothing will inconvenience you more than a wreck or getting your vehicle stuck in a ditch.
Guide to correcting a slide on icy roads
If you have no choice but to drive on icy roads, knowing what to do through a slide or fishtail can save your life.
Braking is a common mistake that drivers make when they begin to slide on an icy road. Braking doesn’t trigger slides, but it can make slides worse. For a correction to work, you need to be able to turn your wheels freely.
Turn into the slide
You’ve certainly heard about turning into a slide, but you may not be entirely sure what this means. Basically, when your vehicle starts sliding, you need to turn your front wheels in the same direction your rear wheels are sliding. As the car begins to straighten out, straighten the steering wheel.
Try to keep a cool head
Losing control of your vehicle is scary. And we know how easy it is to oversteer or overcorrect when trying to regain control. If you overcorrect, your vehicle will rotate into a full spin. Overcorrecting will cause your vehicle to spin out.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
The Carlson Law Firm has four decades of experience protecting the rights of injured people all over the nation. We have a long-standing record of success in recovering compensation for clients injured in car crashes. As your premier Texas personal injury attorneys, we will use our knowledge of the law and negotiation skills to ensure your rights are protected. Call 800-359-5690 to speak to a qualified member of our legal team today.
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