The winter months can be a dangerous time to be on the roads, even in a southern state like Georgia. While it’s warmer here than in many other parts of the country, rain and snowstorms still arrive on occasion. If you were living in Georgia in 2014, you likely remember “snowmageddon,” which was when the Atlanta metro area was paralyzed for close to a week by a sudden, intense snowstorm. Dozens of drivers found themselves trapped in their cars on frozen interstates with little warnings, and many others were injured due to the icy conditions on the roads.
With winter now well underway, it’s essential to be prepared for the impact that cold-weather driving conditions can have as you’re driving around Georgia. That’s why we put together this list of safety tips and other guidance to help you navigate the roads during the next few months.
Winter driving safety tips
It’s essential to take proper precautions during the winter months, both before you set out on the roads and while you’re driving. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure your car is ready for winter weather. This includes making sure you have enough antifreeze, topping off on cold-weather windshield wiper fluid, and checking the tread on your tires. If you haven’t replaced your tires in a while, make sure they have enough tread to handy wet and icy roads.
- Give drivers in front of you more space. If the road is wet from rain, snow, or slush, or if the streets have frozen over, drivers in front of you will need much more room to slow down and stop. Give them some extra space to make sure you don’t rear-end someone if they have to slow down or stop suddenly.
- Take it slow on turns and when you’re coming up on intersections. The easiest way to send your car into a skid if the roads are icy is to take a turn too quickly or stop too suddenly. Calm, controlled movements will help you maintain control on the road.
- Review what to do in the event of a skid. If possible, take your vehicle to an empty parking lot or another place where you can safely practice emergency maneuvers. If not, take a few minutes to review your owner’s manual and other materials on how to control your vehicle in a skid.
- Prepare an emergency kit in case you end up stranded in your vehicle, Ready.gov has a good list of basic supplies your emergency kit should contain, including food, water, jumping cables, a flashlight, a blanket, an ice scraper, and a cellphone charger.
- Keep a small container of sand, gravel, or cat litter in your car. If you get stuck on the side of the road and can’t get traction, you can put down some of these materials to help you avoid spinning your wheels.
- Be careful around salt trucks and plow trucks. These vehicles are very large and may have limited visibility, especially to the side and rear.
What to do in the event of a winter driving accident
Car accidents still happen in winter, no matter how many precautions drivers take before getting on the road. If you’re involved in a winter driving accident, here’s what you should do:
- Call 911 immediately. There’s a very real danger that you or another driver could sustain severe injuries or even freeze to death in cold weather, especially if the accident happens at night. Call 911 as soon as you can after an accident to alert emergency responders to your situation.
- Move your vehicle off the road if possible. This will reduce the chance of another accident occurring, but be careful as you’re moving your vehicle.
- Make sure you stay warm and that your vehicle is visible. Turn on your emergency hazard lights and set up reflectors, if you can do so safely. It’s also a good idea to fill up with gas before taking a long drive in the winter, as you want to be prepared in case you’re stranded for a while.
In addition to these winter-specific tips, you’ll also want to take the standard steps that follow an accident, such as exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver, seeing if there were any witnesses to the accident, notifying your insurance company, etc.
How to prove the other driver was at fault for a winter driving accident
In addition to making driving more difficult, winter weather can also make it harder to see other vehicles on the road and determine who was at fault in an accident. If you’re in an accident with another driver during the winter, here are a few things you can do to determine if the other driver was at fault:
- Look at the condition of the other driver’s vehicle. Are their tires worn? Are their brakes in good condition? What about their wiper blades? Drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists on the road, including keeping their vehicle in working order in the event of bad weather.
- Look at the crash scene. Are there signs that the driver was speeding or driving recklessly (turning too quickly, not allowing enough space to slow down, etc.)? Is the driver intoxicated or fatigued? If the driver was acting recklessly, they are liable for the injuries they caused you.
- Are there any nearby witnesses? In poor weather, it can be difficult to see another driver who’s not following the rules of the road, but there may be witnesses if the driver was acting recklessly. If you can find another driver or someone else who saw your accident, be sure to get their contact information.
If you’re having trouble proving that the other driver was to blame for your winter weather accident, a car accident lawyer can help gather the evidence you need. Hiring a lawyer right away gives you the best chance at getting the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney today
The car accident lawyers at the Brauns Law Firm have been helping Georgia accident victims for many years, and we’ve helped our clients recover millions of dollars over the years. Our founder, David Brauns, is a former insurance attorney who’s taken that experience and used it to help car accident victims find the justice they deserve. To learn more about how we can help you with your case, call (404) 975-2634 or visit our contact page.