Cold weather is here, which means rain, snow, icy roads and sleet pose an additional driving risk for everyone on the road. Here are some tips about driving defensively and what to do if you are in an accident with a negligent driver.
Winter Weather Dangers
The winter season can be a dangerous time for New York drivers. The city is cold, damp, and icy, and the streets are often covered in snow. The low temperatures of winter cause roads to become slick, and dangerous, and the hazy conditions that result from snow and fog decrease visibility. Between harsh weather that can cause cars to spin out of control and impaired drivers coming from holiday parties, and the potential for black ice, you must drive defensively. Here are some top tips for keeping safe:
Be Mindful of Slippery Roads: With frequent rain, snow or sleet, come slippery roads. Slippery roads are a major cause of winter accidents because they make it difficult –and sometimes impossible—to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision. Maintain a safe (and slower) speed when faced with these road conditions.
- Be Aware of Black Ice: Because it is camouflaged and can form quickly, black ice is particularly dangerous. Be on the lookout for pavement that looks dry, but appears darker in color. Areas prone to black ice include bridges, which typically freeze faster than road surfaces and road areas that are shaded like underpasses or roads between tall buildings.
- Watch Out for Drunk Drivers: The risk of getting involved in an accident during the winter months increases, often due to the holidays. Stay on guard for drivers in front of, to the side and behind you, who are weaving, driving slow or too fast, or changing lanes without signaling. Pull over until they’ve passed, or move over in another lane, giving yourself plenty of room between their vehicle and yours.
- Maintain Your Car’s Equipment: Having good tires with enough traction can make a big difference on icy roads. Make sure your tires are safe, and check your headlights, as they can dim over time. Making sure you have enough windshield fluid is essential with the salt and muck that can dirty your windshield is also a must.
What If I Am Hit by Another Vehicle?
If you’re hit by another vehicle, report your accident to the police immediately. You should make sure that the police get all information regarding each car involved, including ownership information, license plate numbers, year and make of the cars involved in the accident, and insurance. Take pictures of any personal and property damage, and write down the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
Negligent drivers who cause your accident can be held responsible, but documenting what happened to prove their negligence is crucial.
Make sure you notify your insurance company right away, both on the phone and in writing. Failing to notify your insurance company could result in them denying coverage for any claims arising out of the accident.
Keep in mind that all No-Fault claims, which will cover up to $50,000 in related medical expenses and lost wages, must be filed within thirty (30) days of any accident.
In addition to notifying the insurance carrier for your auto insurance, keep in mind you may be insured under other policies issued to members of your household. You should immediately notify all insurance companies who may possibly have a policy covering the accident.
How a New York Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Proving the fault of the negligent party is instrumental in being awarded compensation for your injuries and damages. This is particularly true in auto cases where the insurance company for the driver who hit you may try to offer an inadequate amount to settle the case early on, or may try to interview you before you have a lawyer and ask questions designed to make you look at fault. Having an experienced auto accident attorney fighting for you will insure you are protected and that all the necessary forms and notifications are filed on time.
At Bonina and Bonina, P.C. we have been fighting for injured people for over 50 years, and have obtained many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for injured plaintiffs. Contact us today at 1-888-MEDLAW1 (633-5291) or online for a consultation to receive the support and legal counsel your case requires.