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Driving safely during the winter

Safety should be a priority for all California motorists when they are on the road. It is particularly important that they also take extra care when driving during the winter, a season that can present significant road hazards.

According to the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, weather is a factor in 22 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. Because winter weather can result in sleet, snow, black ice and freezing temperatures, all of which can make maneuvering more difficult, winter is often considered to be the most dangerous season for driving.

Ice and black ice are especially dangerous. Wet roads will be covered with ice when the surface temperature falls below the freezing point. Ice can remain on the road even in non-freezing temperatures because the air will get warm more quickly than the ground. When the road is covered in ice, it can be difficult for tires to have a sufficient grip, and stopping and steering a vehicle can become difficult.

Black ice is even worse as it can be invisible to drivers. It is a thin sheet of ice that makes the road appear wet instead of icy, having a matte appearance instead of the glossy finish associated with ice roads. Black ice typically forms in the early hours of the morning or at night and remains unnoticed by drivers until they have lost control of their vehicles.

Motorists can winterize their vehicles to prepare for the winter and the road hazards that come with it. Driving slower in questionable weather and increasing the distance it takes to stop can help prevent accidents.

A personal injury attorney may assist clients who sustain injuries in car accidents caused by drivers behaving negligently in inclement weather. Financial damages may be pursued for broken bones and crush injuries.

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