Winter driving can be more dangerous than driving in other conditions, but many of us underestimate just how serious those dangers can be. At Buttafuoco & Associates, our car accident lawyers serving Northern New Jersey work with clients every year who’ve fallen victim to our state’s winter weather on the roads; for many motorists, snow and ice can lead to serious injury or even wrongful death.
I’ll tell you what to look out for below, and when an attorney may be of use to you.
Dangers of Snow and Ice
According to the Federal Highway Administration, snowy, slushy, or icy roads account for nearly a quarter of weather-related car accidents annually, including 116,800 injuries and 1,300 deaths; this doesn’t include the 15% that occur during snowfall or sleet, which account for 76,000 injuries and 900 deaths.
Our Buttafuoco & Associates car accident attorneys in Northern New Jersey have seen severe, even life-altering injuries occur in winter weather, including:
- Bone Fractures
- Severe Lacerations
- Traumatic Brain and Spinal Injuries
- Loss of limbs
According to the National Weather Service, even after the worst of winter weather has passed, there can still be lingering dangers from melting snow and ice. Black ice can remain on the roads long after much of the snow has melted, and potholes and other road damage are more common and difficult to see. Furthermore, melting snow can cause flooding.
Any of these conditions can leave you with serious injuries that can be incredibly costly to recover from. This is why it’s imperative that you keep your medical records and work with a Northern New Jersey car accident attorney who can help you negotiate with your insurance company or draw up a lawsuit if you have a serious car accident claim.
Get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates personal injury lawyers if you have questions about your case.
3 Steps for Safe Winter Driving Before You Hit the Road
There’s plenty of advice on how to navigate the roads in winter conditions, but it’s worth keeping in mind that steering clear of winter accidents (as well as their dangers) is largely due to preparation and prevention.
Below are possibly the three biggest steps you can take to stay clear of dangerous accidents this winter:
Maintain Your Vehicle
This is likely the most important, as well as the most comprehensive, aspect of safe winter driving. This includes checking your tires, oil, brakes, car battery, etc, to make sure your car is in good working order.
Worn out tire treads, for example, will reduce control on already-slippery surfaces.
Clear Your Vehicle of Ice and Snow
In fact, it’s the law in New Jersey to clear your car of ice and snow before driving; aside from dangers of inhibiting visibility and putting others at risk when snow or ice flies off of your car, a Northern New Jersey car accident lawyer will tell you that failure to clear your car of ice and snow can incur fines.
They can go up to $75 for failure to clear off ice and snow and up to $1000 if snow or ice from your car causes any damage.
Keep Emergency Supplies on Hand
Many of us know that we should keep a winter emergency kit in our cars in case the worst happens, but the fact is that most of us probably don’t.
The State of New Jersey provides a comprehensive list of items to keep in your car.
These include items like:
- Road flares
- Road salt
- Snow shovel
- Sleeping bags
- Extra blankets
- Bottled water
If you do find yourself in an accident here are 5 steps you need to take: 5 Steps to Take After a Serious Car Accident in New Jersey.
When to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered a severe injury in a car accident this winter, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death case.
Whatever the circumstances, it’s worth working with an experienced Northern New Jersey auto accident lawyer. An attorney can help you navigate your personal injury claim, seek compensation and receive a fair settlement to get your life back on track.
Get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates for a free consultation.