No one likes to drive in snow and ice, especially folks living in the South. Per the Federal Highway Administration’s Road Weather Management Program, 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur in snowy, slushy, or icy weather. Over 1,300 people are killed in these accidents and more than 116,800 people are injured annually.
Even though we don’t typically see much snow in a Kentucky winter, our winter driving conditions can still be treacherous. Kentucky receives about 11 inches of snow per year, and temperatures often drop below freezing at night, causing snow and water to quickly turn to ice.
When driving in these conditions, common sense dictates that you should SLOW DOWN and pay attention. However, if you’re on the road in treacherous conditions, crashes can still happen. You can decrease your risk of an accident by taking precautionary measures.
Can You Blame the Weather for the Accident?
Unfortunately, the short answer is no. According to Kentucky law, every person must be aware of the road conditions and adjust their driving accordingly, regardless of the weather. If you’re driving at a high-speed on an icy road and experience an accident, you may be at fault. Likewise, if you are driving safely and another person who isn’t driving safely hits you, then they are at fault. Snow and ice, however, aren’t liable for car damage or medical bills.
Road conditions often come into play when determining fault for an accident. Most commonly, when road conditions are cites, it’s the failure to slow down that is found to be a significant contributing factor. Whether you can make a liability claim will depend on how these factors are applied. Make sure that you hire someone who has experience with understanding just what needs to be done.
How to Protect Yourself Against Icy/Snowy Weather Conditions
However, you have more control than you think! If you take the following precautions, you’ll significantly reduce your risk of a crash while driving on snowy and icy roads.
- Do not drive — this is by far the safest option. When the roads are icy, snowy, or slushy, it’s best not to drive at all. When possible, stay at home until conditions are better.
- Drive slowly and carefully — when there’s ice or snow on the road, your tires do not have as much traction. To increase traction, drive slower than the speed limit and deliberately.
- Do not tail cars — while this is a rule that should be followed regardless, it’s especially important when driving in snow and ice. Increase your following distance to about 7 seconds behind the car in front of you. If you have to stop suddenly, you will have adequate distance to slow down.
- Do not accelerate or decelerate suddenly — when you slowly add or decrease the gas, you let your car gain traction on the road. Give yourself time to stop at stoplights or stop signs and don’t accelerate suddenly after the stop.
- Do not stop unless necessary — stopping on ice or snow will usually result in a skid or slide, especially on hills. Only stop if you are required to.
- Understand your brake system — whether or not you have antilock brakes, make sure to apply steady pressure on the brake pedal.
Safety Tips for Winter Road Accidents
If you follow the tips above, the potential of an accident is lowered, but you can’t negate the possibility. Accidents happen — even when we’re being careful. If you find yourself in a winter road accident, here are some tips to ensure your safety:
- When possible, stay in your car — if you leave your car, you risk being hit by another car as a pedestrian. Unless you need to evacuate the car for safety reasons, stay in your car until a law enforcement officer tells you it is safe to leave.
- When possible, take pictures of the scene — do not exit your car to take these pictures, but the more documentation you can have of the accident, the easier it is for your attorney to defend you if the need arises.
- Stay calm and don’t talk about liability concerns — if there is someone else involved in the accident, understand that you do not have to talk to their lawyer or insurance agent.
- Contact us for professional advice— it’s easy to feel intimidated by insurance companies, so let us do the hard work for you.
How to Request a Free Consultation with McCoy & Sparks
Have you recently experienced an accident in Kentucky due to wintery weather conditions? If so, then we can help. You can contact us for a FREE and confidential consultation. We’ll examine your situation with care, ask questions, and help you determine your next steps.
Depending on the situation, your insurance company may come after you — but here at McCoy and Sparks, we believe in treating clients with care. We’ll make sure that your insurance company adequately covers the cost of your accident as well as any vehicle damages.
For over a decade, McCoy and Sparks has been recognized as one of Central Kentucky’s best law firms. We represent thousands of clients in Central Kentucky and are always focused on providing premium service and delivering superior results. No matter the severity of your situation, we want to serve your personal needs to the best of our ability.
Request a free consultation today! And remember — you don’t owe us anything unless we win.