Winter Driving Safety Tips for Upstate New York
Every winter we see the same errors that cause car and truck crashes. Maybe we are more aware as Buffalo, New York personal injury attorneys we regularly get called on by people with serious personal injuries suffered in truck and car accidents through no fault of their own. It seems like some drivers have to relearn driving safety during the first weather event or snowstorm. Driving back from New Jersey Thanksgiving weekend I encountered dozens of vehicles off the road or in accidents on the I-80, I-81 Southern Tier Expressway and the New York Thruway. Some were very serious crashes.
Road conditions were bad. It was icy and snowing. However, some drivers did not adjust for the weather conditions, particularly the traction. Some would drive up at a high rate of speed close to the rear of the vehicle in front of them and then step on the brakes. Sudden braking, particularly hard braking, can cause loss of traction in any condition. This is especially true when there is a layer of moisture, ice, slush, or snow on the roadway. As New York accident attorneys, our lawyers have seen similar, or the same actions, leading up to and causing car crashes unnecessarily, resulting in serious and unnecessary personal injury.
Interstate 90, through New York, has some of the worst stretches of highway because of fast changing weather conditions. I have encountered black ice, whiteouts, hail, snow, ice, lake effect bands and freezing rain. There are frequent lake effect bands in Chautauqua County, Erie County, Monroe County, Orleans County, and Genesee County, near Batavia, in the Syracuse area.
Drivers who need to change lanes suddenly, or turn, may spin out of control when traction is reduced. Thanksgiving weekend, directly in front of us, a car hit ice and began fishtailing. Had we been traveling too closely, there would have been an accident. We were able to maintain control and avert the car that fishtailed into our lane. Further down the road, others were not as lucky. New York State troopers were busy trying to protect car and truck accident scenes all along the New York State Thruway.
The most important safety tactic you can employ when traveling in wintry conditions, and other conditions, is maintaining your safety zone. That is, maintaining a bubble of space in front of your vehicle, to the side of your vehicle, and behind your vehicle, when possible. Also, try not to be the car directly in front of big rigs, such as eighteen-wheelers, the car behind big trucks, or, alongside big trucks. It’s important to give big rigs space to prevent a tractor trailer versus car crash, which frequently causes horrific serious injuries, and even wrongful death, because of the size and weight of the big rigs.
In addition, if you keep a safety zone of space around you, you have more time to avert an accident, compared to when a vehicle is traveling too close to you. When another vehicle is alongside you, or passing you, there may only be a couple of feet between the other vehicle and your car. One wrong move of another driver not paying attention can cause a horrific car crash, as with little space there is little time to take corrective action.
A car crash can happen in a matter of seconds. Very often the cause of an accident may seem obvious, such as a person losing control in slippery conditions. But unfortunately, the cause is often disputed by the insurance companies involved. Companies may claim it was an “act of God” because of the weather, or argue that some or all of the blame is on you, although you were driving within your lane at a reasonable rate of speed. Usually there are events before the auto accident that lead up to it that make the crash completely preventable. Tailgating, speeding, driving alongside another vehicle, hanging in the blind spot, driving up at a high rate of speed trying to get a person to move over, or switching lanes without sufficient distance are all highly dangerous actions that we as personal injury lawyers see, that often lead up to car accidents.
If you’ve been hurt in a car crash call the New York auto accident lawyers at Feroleto Law. They can advise you on New York no-fault, your rights to a personal injury recovery for pain and suffering, if appropriate, accident investigation and dealing with insurance companies. You can reach Feroleto Law at 716-854-0700 and have your questions answered in a free, confidential conversation. If you do hire the attorneys at Feroleto Law we do not charge you a legal fee if we do not get you a recovery. Call 716-854-0700.