Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

Car accidents dramatically increase during bad winter weather

Even before the recent monster storm "Jonas" piled its winter precipitation on the hapless citizens of Tennessee and a dozen other states, people here were fighting the slick roads for several days. As early as Jan. 19 and 20, snow-covered conditions were being reported throughout the state. Car accidents related to the weather were higher than normal and a serious problem in many counties in the state.

Of course, these problems were dwarfed by the crippling conditions caused by Jonas just a few days later. However, one thing is now certain, and that is that Tennesseans are not going to have an easy winter with mild conditions and clear roads. It is particularly important for people to adopt rules of safe driving during inclement winter weather. Even though the temptation will be to blame an accident on the weather, police often issue citations to people for driving too fast for conditions and causing an accident, even sometimes while a storm is occurring.

During exceptional weather onslaughts, the surest way to avoid an accident is to stay home. Patience is probably the most rewarding characteristic during these times. When traveling is a necessity, however, one must focus on slowing down the tempo of everything. That means that it will take three or four times longer to get somewhere, and perhaps even more. Accidents occur in bad weather largely because people drive too fast for conditions.

Driving too fast for conditions puts the vehicle at a disadvantage and gives motorists far greater odds of getting involved in avoidable car accidents. When driving in such conditions, all emergency aids must be taken along, including phone chargers, flashlights, batteries, jumper cables, layers of clothing, blankets, food, water and necessary tools. Turning on the car's headlights will make it easier to be seen by others. Motorists in Tennessee are not  generally used to contending with such harsh conditions, but now that we know what winter may bring, it is time to stay focused on avoiding accidents and the injuries that accompany them.

Source: wcyb.com, "Traffic, crashes while crews hard at work clearing roads", Preston Ayres, Jan. 20, 2016

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