Snow-Covered Vehicles Can Obstruct View, Mirrors
Winter conditions present a mix of hazards that can increase the risk of a motor vehicle accident if proper safety precautions are not taken. Just as it is important to be careful when driving with snow or ice on the ground, drivers can also help prevent an accident by thoroughly cleaning snow and ice off their vehicles before getting behind the wheel. The presence of snow or ice on the windows and mirrors can obstruct a driver’s view, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
Parker Waichman LLP has decades of experience representing automobile accident victims. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a car accident lawsuit.
In New York state, there is no law mandating drivers to clean their vehicle of snow and ice before driving. However, this risk has been acknowledged by some lawmakers, who have tried to pass such legislation previously. Even though driving a snow or ice-covered car is not illegal, it is a risky habit that can place drivers on the road at risk.
Drivers may have difficulty seeing the road or their mirrors if they are covered in snow and ice. In December 2016, WKBW Buffalo published an article titled “Snow covered vehicles lead to dangerous driving conditions”. Failing to thoroughly brush snow and ice off your car can obstruct the driver’s view, which is especially dangerous during winter weather conditions.
“We’ve answered since Friday 60 calls for service for cars off the roads, property accidents, and the main causes are always obstructed view and speed,” said Sergeant Jason Bouton of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, according to WKBW Buffalo. One accident involved a 19-year-old Ford driver who crossed a double yellow line on Boston State Road. She wound up in a head-on collision with a 63-year-old Prius driver, who died of injuries later at the hospital. The New York State Police have not ruled out the possibility that snow and ice may not have been fully cleared off the vehicle.
Car accidents also occurred following a Bills game in December in Orchard Park. Police say the weather contributed to the crashes. “At the game you saw a lot of people wanted to get out real quick and they didn’t take the time to defrost their windshield,” said Sgt. Bouton, according to WKBW Buffalo. “We had a lot of hit and run accidents and cars off the road.”
In terms of litigation, filing a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident involves looking at what caused the accident. Even if an activity is not technically illegal, it may still be considered negligent or dangerous, placing drivers on the road at risk. Seek out legal counsel for specific questions about lawsuits involving a car accident.
Driving Safely in the Snow
When snow and ice are on the road, there are several safety tips that drivers should implement, according to AAA. In general, don’t rush when driving in the snow. Apply the gas and the brake slowly, keeping in mind that it takes cars longer to stop when roads are icy. Accelerating slowly can help avoid skids and regain traction, reducing the likelihood of losing control of the vehicle. Drive slowly overall, and remember that everything takes longer when it snows. Be familiar with your brakes as well.
Leave a larger gap in between vehicles. For normal dry pavement conditions, the recommended following distance is three to four seconds. For snowy conditions, this should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
If possible, try not to stop. It is easier to keep a vehicle moving while still in motion than getting it start moving from a complete stop. AAA advises, “If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.”
If you need to go up a hill, build up enough inertia on flat ground before going up the hill. If you apply extra gas going up a snow-covered hill, your wheels may just start spinning. Additionally, once you start going up the hill, do not stop.
Stay home if you can. Driving in the snow presents risks; not everyone knows how to drive safely in the snow, even if you do.
Legal Help for Car Accident Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing car accident and other accident victims. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).