From a Georgetown, Delaware Car Accident Lawyer
Streets encrusted in snow and ice are a common hazard in Delaware during the winter months, which can make driving riskier even for the most careful motorists.
Sometimes it is impossible to get out of the way of negligent drivers and good people wind up the victims of bad car accidents. Delaware has experienced many tragic winter-weather-related accidents over the years. In the greater Georgetown region and Sussex County, road conditions can be especially dangerous on:
- Route 1 (Coastal Highway)
- Route 9 (County Seat Highway)
- Route 13 (Sussex Highway)
- Route 113 (Dupont Boulevard)
Over the course of five years, there were 6 winter driving fatalities and many more serious injury-causing crashes across the state, according to a ValuePenguin study. That's about 1.2 deaths due to winter driving conditions per 100 days of freezing temperatures.
There are things you can do, however, to help keep safe while driving in winter weather. Here are some winter safety driving tips to help you navigate frozen Sussex County roads.
Winter Weather Driving Tips
To get ready for winter driving, prepare yourself and your vehicle for the change in weather and driving conditions. Before you hit the road, AAA recommends the following.
- Pack. Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car. This includes extra food, water, warm clothing, a flashlight, glass (car window) scraper, blankets, and medications.
- Check your tires. Make sure your tires have adequate tread for the weather and that they are properly inflated to the recommended air pressure. Good, well-maintained tires improve traction and braking.
- Keep your gas tank filled. Try to keep at least a half tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
- Beware of warming up cars in garages. Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area like a garage - the buildup of toxic fumes can be lethal.
- Share your location. If you have to drive in bad winter weather conditions, especially if it's for a long distance, tell a friend or family member where you are going, the route you are taking, and your anticipated arrival time. If you get stuck, they can send for help.
Driving in the Snow
The first way to stay safe driving in the snow is to opt to stay home, AAA notes. If it is not possible to stay where you are when road conditions are dangerous, here are some tips to reduce your risk of a crash:
- Drive slow. Always adjust your speed for the road conditions, weather, and visibility. Remember: Speeding isn't just going over the posted limit; it is also driving too fast for road conditions.
- Take control. Do not rely on cruise control when driving on slippery surfaces.
- No sudden changes in speed. Accelerate and decelerate slowly to maintain maximum control over your vehicle and avoid skidding.
- Create space. Increase the distance you would normally keep between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. It takes longer to stop on icy and slick roads, so give yourself enough time and space to adjust.
- Don't "power up" hills. Hitting the gas while attempting to go up a snowy hill is a bad idea. Most likely, it will leave your wheels spinning. Instead, work up some inertia (get a running start) and proceed up the hill at a slow and steady pace. Once you start going up a hill, do not stop unless necessary. The incline will likely make it difficult to get going again.
If You Get Stuck
If you and your vehicle becomes lodged in the snow, you should:
- So long as it's safe to do so, stay inside your vehicle as much as possible
- Increase your visibility by putting a bright-colored blanket or clothing on your vehicle's antenna
- Make sure carbon monoxide does not build up in your vehicle. Check to make sure your exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow, ice, or mud
- Conserve fuel by running the engine and heater only long enough to remove the chill.
Crash Victims Have Legal Rights
Bad winter weather can make driving more difficult, but it is still the responsibility of every motorist to adjust their driving for the conditions and stay in control of their vehicles. When someone fails to do that, the result is often a crash that causes severe injury or death. If you were injured or a loved one died in a car accident caused by someone else, an attorney can help you hold them accountable and recover the compensation you're entitled to.
At the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P.A., we proudly serve crash victims and their families in Georgetown and Sussex County. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to investigate your accident, uncover the facts, and aggressively advocate for your best interests.
Learn more about how our law firm can help with your potential legal case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Georgetown, Delaware car accident attorney.