There was a rash of car accidents in Indiana this month caused by icy roads and winter weather conditions. Indiana State Police responded to dozens of accidents after one particular snowstorm left hazardous roads for holiday travelers--roads that Indiana’s large fleet of snow plows could simply not keep up with.
Driving a car or truck on on ice, no matter the driver's ability or experience, can prove to be one of the most high-risk times to travel. Even the thinnest layer of ice, at the slowest speeds, can play havoc with the roadways, causing driver's to lose control of their car, slide off the road, and/or collide into other vehicles. And contrary to what some drivers may believe, it doesn’t need to be snowing for there to be considerable amounts of ice on the road.
In addition to what we commonly expect ice to look like, there is also an especially dangerous form of ice that is not always visible to drivers. Black ice is almost completely invisible to a driver's eyes until they've hit it. Black ice can can form on any road surface and is especially dangerous on bridges and overpasses. This type of ice is a common wintry condition in Indiana and is the cause of several accidents every year.
Because Indiana's winters always bring with them 3-4 months of unpredictable, often dangerous, driving conditions, we have compiled a list of safety tips for driving in icy and snowy conditions:
If at all possible, stay off of the roads.
Even the most safe and experienced drivers can become victim to icy icy and wintry road conditions, so while it may not be practical in every situation, the only obvious guarantee against being involved in a winter-related accident is avoiding the roadways until the conditions have returned to normal.
Realize your stopping distance will greatly increase.
Give yourself extra time and distance to make a stop, especially on roads that are not level or have gradual inclines and declines. A large number of rear-end collisions occur in the winter because drivers mistakenly anticipate that their braking distance will allow them enough time and space to avoid the vehicle in front of them.
Know that ice forms in some places before others.
Even though long stretches of road may be clear, it's critical that drivers watch for early-forming patches of ice on bridges, overpasses, and tunnels.
A common cause of winter-related accidents is the result of a driver operating their vehicle at posted or above-posted speed limits along a stretch of road that isn't affected by snow or ice, only to have a patch of wintry conditions appear suddenly, causing the car to hit the ice at a higher-than-anticipated speed. If you do suddenly come upon a patch of ice and are driving too fast, lift your foot of the accelerator immediately and avoid braking. (Braking on ice can easily cause a car to fishtail and lose control.)
Understand how your vehicle handles icy roads.
Every vehicle comes with its own unique ability to handle and perform in winter weather conditions. It's critical that you know how your car reacts on icy and snowy roads, as well as if it is equipped with any safety features, such as slide control, anti-lock brakes, four-wheel drive, etc., before you get behind the wheel. (Be especially cautious when driving on ice in an unfamiliar vehicle, such as a rental car.)
Be aware of black ice!
Though black ice was discussed earlier, it's always worth an additional mention!
Because you can't detect black ice, this condition is responsible for countless accidents throughout Indiana during the winter months. While it can form anywhere, it's commonly found in shady and rural areas, or anywhere that does not receive constant, direct sunlight.
Were you injured in an accident caused by ice or snow?
If you were the victim in an Indiana car accident that was caused by icy and or snowy conditions, it's possible we can help you. Our Indianapolis injury lawyers assist clients each year with medical bills, lost wage recovery, and pain and suffering that were caused by a driver who failed to follow one of the tips listed above.
We are a contingency fee based personal injury firm, that offers FREE consultations. This means that we never charge any fees upfront and the only way our firm is paid is if we make a recovery for you.