On October 4, 2013, an early snowstorm took Colorado by surprise. Many were not ready for the winter season just yet. The wet, heavy snowfall brought down power lines, made roads slick, and wreaked havoc with drivers trying to get places. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) statistics show that 24 percent of car crashes caused by adverse weather conditions occur on snowy, slushy, or icy roads; 15 percent of accidents occur while the snow or sleet is falling; and more than 1,300 people die each year in automobile accidents; 116,000 more people suffer serious personal injury.
So when we live in areas that get a lot of snow, how can we avoid becoming one of those statistics? One way is to properly winterize our automobile. Here are a few tips from your Denver automobile accident attorney:
- Make sure your tires are not too worn and have the proper air pressure
- Make sure your brake pads are not worn out and are working properly
- Have your coolant and windshield wiper fluid checked
- Make sure your defroster, heater and exhaust systems are working properly.
- Additionally, carry such emergency items as sand, shovel, flashlight, blanket and flares in your trunk.
Another way to avoid automobile accidents and personal injury associated with them is to learn and use safe driving techniques for snow and ice. Some of these techniques include:
- Decrease your speed
- Increase space between your automobile and the car in front of you
- Brake gently to avoid skidding
- Turn on lights to make yourself more visible and to increase your own visibility
- Use low gears
For tips on how to maneuver your automobile in skids and when stuck in snowdrifts, go to weather.com for driving safety tips.
However, even preparing for the snow and ice, and being a safe driver is not always enough. We can do our part, but we can’t control other drivers on the road. The single biggest reason for accidents in bad weather is speed; drivers do not necessarily exceed the speed limit but fail to adjust speed for weather conditions. Many people simply do not realize that they must drive differently in bad weather. They overestimate the ability of their all-wheel-drive vehicles, and sometimes their own driving abilities. When this happens, negligent and reckless driving occurs and often leads to automobile accidents with personal injuries. Your Denver automobile accident attorney can help you recover for damage to your car, and any personal injuries you or those riding with you may have suffered due to the negligence of another driver.
The Colorado Vehicle Code mandates that the determination of negligence with respect to auto accidents be a process involving law enforcement, an investigation, an appeals process, and if applicable, a criminal trial. The Code is constantly updated to reflect new and evolving safety issues. This is good for the overall determination of liability but bad for common understanding and clarity of what constitutes negligence in an automobile accident. If you have been in an automobile accident, please contact your Denver automobile accident attorney at Levine Law to ensure your interests and rights are protected.