Each year, 6,500 car crashes are caused by snow and ice each year. Because adverse weather has returned to Colorado, so too has the increased risk of winter car crashes. Our Denver personal injury lawyers remind drivers that winter driving is very different from driving any other time of year. Here are some simple driving tips to avoid winter car crashes in Colorado.
Whether getting read for work in the morning or planning a trip to the mountains to ski, drivers should know what the weather conditions are going to be like while on the road. Drivers should turn to local news or weather stations and take note of the weather both en route to their destination and on the way home. This will help prepare drivers for the commute as well as alert them to any issues that may prevent travel altogether.
Prior to departing, drivers should ensure their vehicles are fully prepared for winter conditions.
- Check Functionality of Vehicle: Drivers should make sure everything on is working properly, including lights, battery level, brakes, and tire tread.
- Check Anti-freeze Level: If water freezes, it cannot flow properly to cool the engine, leading to an engine overheating.
- Check Tire Pressure: Drivers should consult their owner’s manual to determine the proper inflation for tires, which is higher in winter.
- Clear Snow and Ice: Drivers should clear all snow and ice from windows, mirrors, and headlights to help with visibility. Given the severity of Colorado winters, it has proven wise to invest in a high-quality ice scraper. When drivers cannot see, crashes are 30 times more likely to occur.
- Purchase an Emergency Kit: Drivers should purchase a shovel, flashlight, blanket, extra layer of clothing, road flares, and a snack.
Driving in Winter Conditions
Winter is notorious for wet, slushy, and slippery roads. While driving in these conditions can be inevitable, drivers should know how to drive in poor conditions to stay safe and avoid accidents.
- Employ Extra Caution: When driving on snow and ice, drivers should slow down and leave large following distance since low visibility can hide hazards.
- Take Curves at Slowed Speeds: Slick road conditions will increase stopping distance. Drivers should avoid situations that would force them to slide.
- Drive Sober: Drivers should always avoid driving while intoxicated, distracted, fatigued, or otherwise unfit to operate a motor vehicle.
- Avoid Black Ice: Black ice forms when melted snow freezes on roadways. Bridges are the most popular place for black ice to develop because they are surrounded by cold air on all sides. Underpasses are also common sites for black ice because the roadway receives little sunlight and collects runoff when snow melts. Drivers should be cognizant of these areas when driving.
- Be Careful Around Plows: Plows have very large blind spots and they may leave lanes to avoid a road hazard or as a result of impact with packed snow. Drivers should generally avoid passing snowplows unless there is adequate space and visibility.
- Be Prepared for the Unexpected: Drivers should be ready for vehicle trouble, accidents, or other unanticipated issues.
Hold Negligent Drivers Liable
Some drivers will continue driving without due regard to the safety of others. They will put lives at risk with negligent driving. While we offer the aforementioned tips to help drivers avoid accidents, the reality is that accidents are going to happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a winter car crash caused by someone else who was driving irresponsibly, it is important to get legal help immediately. Although no amount of money can adequately compensate you for your injury or disruption to your life, the at-fault driver who caused the crash is responsible for your losses under Colorado law.
Owner and Managing Attorney
Jerry Bowman, J.D., M.A., Owner and managing attorney of Bowman Law LLC, takes his responsibility to the legal profession seriously and dedicates his time and effort to providing quality and competent legal representation to clients in Denver and throughout all of Colorado. He holds an MA in Political Science from Wayne State University and earned his law degree in two and a half years from Michigan State University College of Law.
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