Snow and Ice Leads to Troublesome Road Conditions, Increased Risk of Serious Injury | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Winter is upon us in Virginia (VA) as we saw the first snow fall of the year. But with that wintery weather comes an elevated risk of serious injury from car accidents. For example, there were a myriad of car wrecks in West Virginia, according to Route 50 had to be shut down after a tractor trailer slid and blocked the roadway.

injury, lawyer, car, accident, snow, winter, ice, sleetDriving in snow, sleet, or that dreaded “wintery mixture” of both poses multiple challenges to drivers. You have to be prepared and understand the dynamics of a snow and/or ice covered road. You certainly don’t want to drive around without any inkling of what to do, wind up sliding into the other lane, hitting another vehicle and suffering a serious injury like a broken neck, facial lacerations, or traumatic brain injury.

Here are some basic guidelines you need to follow if you plan to drive in wintery weather…

1. Preparation prevents problems – Make sure you have snow tires or place chains on your tires when there’s a plethora of snow and ice on the road.

2. Don’t speed – Driving too fast is a bad idea in general, but is terrible in winter road conditions. In fact, you should drive 5 to 10 miles below the speed limit when it’s snowing and sleeting on the road.

3. Learn how to control a skid – When a vehicle starts to skid, most drivers freak out and panic. Here’s what you need to do: Turn into the skid and accelerate. This transfers the weight from the front to the rear wheels, which allows you to steer into the direction of the skid and regain control of the vehicle. However, if you’re in an “understeer skid” (where your car fails to turn during the skid), adjust your steering wheel until you regain some grip at the front wheels. Once grip is restored, gently start to steer.