Risk of Car Accidents in Winter Weather in NYC
Driving in New York City is never easy. Add in ice, snow, sleet, and reduced visibility, and it becomes even more difficult. Road conditions and holiday cheer that causes people to drink more all make driving in winter weather harder. Also, negligent drivers are present on the roads just as much as they are when the weather is nicer. Additionally, the days are shorter during the winter months, so people are driving in the dark more. Below, our NYC car accident lawyer explains the biggest hazards drivers face during the winter, and how you can stay safe.
Road Conditions are Worse in the Winter
Snow, sleet, slush, and black ice are all present on the road during the winter months. They all make it much harder for motorists to drive and control their vehicle. Black ice gets its name from the fact that it is a very thin sheet of see-through ice and so, it blends in perfectly with the pavement. Drivers often cannot see black ice, especially at night when driving is inherently more dangerous. When a motorist drives on black ice their car can quickly slide and even spin out of control. Stepping on the brakes to stop the slide can only make matters worse and cause a catastrophic crash.
It is not only precipitation on the roads that makes driving in winter weather more dangerous. During winter storms, fallen sticks, fallen trees, and other debris litter roadways more than in the summer months. Motorists may come across this debris very quickly, and move out of the way to avoid hitting it. When the road is covered in ice and snow, maneuvering in this way is especially dangerous.
Road conditions also become inherently worse during the winter months. Even the tiniest of cracks in a road will cause it to accumulate more water and snow, which eventually freezes. This adds to the size of potholes, and creates new ones, which can also pose a hazard to drivers.
More Holidays During Winter Cause More Deaths
Many of the major holidays fall during the winter months in New York City. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and even St. Patrick’s Day are just a few of these. People are more likely to consume alcohol and drugs during these celebrations, and they may get behind the wheel afterwards.
Multiple studies have shown that impaired driving increases during the holiday months. It is also not always on the actual holiday that this occurs. People often celebrate Thanksgiving on different weekends with different family members. Office Christmas parties also start late in November and extend weeks through to the actual holiday. This means for many of the winter months, impaired drivers are also more likely to cause a crash on the roads.
Snow and Ice on Other Vehicles
Cleaning your car of ice and snow first thing in the morning before you leave for work is a pain. Clearing off this precipitation though, is important to keep yourself and others safe. New York law recognizes this and throughout the state, drivers must remove any accumulation of sleet, snow, or hail from the surface of the vehicle.
When snow and ice are not removed from a vehicle, it makes it more difficult for the driver inside to see their surroundings. It is nearly impossible to see the additional hazards winter driving presents when you are trying to look through small patches of a window that have cleared, or through a windshield covered with snow. Unfortunately, snow and ice on a vehicle is not only a danger to the driver inside.
Snow or ice can easily blow off one vehicle and onto another when it is not properly cleared. As it does, it will cover the windshield and windows of one or more drivers in the near vicinity. That will reduce their visibility and due to the fact that this happens so quickly, the driver inside the other vehicle may not have time to react.
Ice poses an even bigger danger to other drivers when a person does not clear it off their vehicle. Sheets of ice have been known to fly off a vehicle, crash through a windshield of the car behind them, and kill the other motorist.
How to Avoid Winter Accidents in New York City
Clearly, there are many dangers on the road in New York City, particularly during the winter. It may seem impossible to stay safe while behind the wheel. Fortunately, there are many safety tips that can help you avoid a winter crash. The most important of these are as follows:
- Try to drive during the daytime hours and at times when weather conditions have not drastically reduced visibility.
- Try to avoid driving when the weather is particularly bad. If there is heavy rain, sleet, or snow, try to put off driving until conditions clear up.
- The windshields of cars become foggy very quickly in clear weather. Make sure you always have your defrost on and if that is not enough, stop driving until visibility improves.
- If you must head out in dangerous conditions, drive very slowly, putting on your hazard lights if necessary.
- Going slowly will also prevent the need to apply your brakes very quickly. If you do have to deploy your brakes, do so slowly and remember to keep the steering wheel straight.
- Never get behind the wheel after drinking. Use extra caution and refrain from having even one drink if you know you have to drive. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair your judgment and slow your reactions, which will prove particularly dangerous while winter driving.
Our Car Accident Lawyer in NYC Can Help After a Winter Crash
Safety tips can go a long way when winter driving, but accidents do still occur. When they do, our NYC car accident lawyer can help you claim the compensation you need. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our skilled attorneys will help you claim no-fault benefits, and any damages from the liable party that are available. Call us today at 1-877-ASK4SAM or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about all of your legal options.