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Car Accidents in Snow and Ice

Snow, sleet, ice and other winter weather conditions in Rhode Island contribute to car accidents. These are not always a matter of fault –, especially in snow and ice. But when someone was driving too fast for road conditions, driving while distracted or impaired or simply not paying proper attention, they shouldn’t get away with blaming the crash on the weather instead of their own negligence.

Consider these facts about  winter car crashes in Rhode Island:

  • More than 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions, which average more than five inches of snowfall annually, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in these snowy regions.
  • The five months from November 15 to April 15 make up Rhode Island’s winter weather driving season, through snow, sleet and freezing rain can fall earlier or later.
  • Speeds on main artery roads decrease by 30 to 40 percent when roads are snowy or slushy. Freeway speeds slow by 3 to 13 percent in light snow and by 5 to 40 percent in heavy snow.
  • Twenty-four percent of weather-related car crashes happen on a snowy, slushy or icy pavement, while 15 percent happen as snow or sleet fall.
  • More than 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people suffer personal injury in motor vehicle accidents that occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement annually.
  • Almost 900 people are killed and nearly 76,000 people are injured each year in motor vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet.
  • Both nonfatal-injury and property-damage-only car crash increase significantly when it snows,  according to the American Journal of Public Health. Fatal car crashes, however, decline. Compared with later snowfalls, significantly more fatalities occur because of the first snow of the season.
  • Most winter car accidents that occur in adverse weather happen because a driver is going too fast for weather or traffic conditions, according to the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies.

What to Do if Poor Road Conditions Caused a Crash

During the winter months especially, a driver can be doing everything right, but an unexpected problem in the road can lead to a crash. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers may be able to help you pursue a claim against the municipality or another party responsible for maintaining the road if they were negligent in their duties.

Contact us to discuss the details of your accident and learn what types of compensation you may be entitled to.

What to Do if Your Car Skids on Ice in Rhode Island 

When your car hits a patch of ice and starts into a skid, your first instinct may be to panic and slam on the brakes. Instead, try to stay calm and follow these instructions from the Rhode Island State Police:

  • Take your foot off the accelerator and shift into neutral.
  • Steer in the direction you want to go. If your rear wheels start sliding the other direction, turn back toward that side to get your car under control.
  • If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), apply steady pressure. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  • When your car is back under control, put it into drive and slowly accelerate.

What To Do After A Winter Car Accident

Car accidents in snowy weather can pose extra dangers for motorists. First responders may take longer than usual to get to victims. And reduced visibility can make it more dangerous for other vehicles to maneuver around the crash.

Here are the steps you should take to protect yourself ─ and your rights ─ after a winter car accident:

  • Call the Rhode Island police immediately. An accident report from a police officer will serve as evidence as you pursue compensation for the damages you suffered.
  • Exchange contact information with the other driver in the Car Accident. Get the person’s name, phone number, and insurance information, but do not discuss the crash. Never apologize or admit fault for an accident.
  • If you are in a remote area, stay in your vehicle until help arrives. During a winter storm, take every precaution to stay safe and warm while you wait. Do not risk losing sight of your vehicle by walking for help.
  • If you need to run the heater while you wait for help, make sure your vehicle’s exhaust pipe is clear.
  • Get the names and contact information for any witnesses to the car crash. Your attorney can interview these people later to piece together what happened.
  • If possible, take photos of the accident scene & vehicles involved in the car accident. Especially during a storm, skid marks and tire tracks can disappear quickly. If you can safely take photos of any crash evidence, that could prove helpful in your claim.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.You may be in shock right after an accident and not feel like you were injured, but it is important to see a doctor right away. Some injuries may not surface until days after the crash, and you may hurt yourself more by not getting checked out.

Contact a Rhode Island Winter Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a family member of yours has been injured in a winter weather car accident in Rhode Island that was the other driver’s fault, the lawyers at Gemma Law Associates, Inc., can help you seek compensation. You may be entitled to payment for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Contact us today. Call our toll-free number or complete our online form. We can provide a free consultation about your case.

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