Icy road conditions make winter driving extra dangerous. A recent accident makes the point all too well. On December 1, The ISP reported that Ernesto Gonzalez of Eden lost control of his pickup on Interstate 84 in the icy road conditions. He died in the incident. Eastbound lanes on the highway were blocked for 3 hours. Around the time of the crash there were multiple reports of wrecks with property damage and slide offs in the area.
Sadly, Mr. Gonzalez’s death was not unusual. Statistically, accidents on icy roads claim the lives of twice as many people as all other severe weather hazards combined. Icy roads also contribute to millions in property damage each year.
People know to be cautious when driving during the big winter storms. The statistics show it’s more common to be involved in a crash during a light icing event. It makes sone sense when you think about it. Schools and workplaces close during big storms. On the other hand, people often take a “business as usual” approach when there’s a light dusting of snow or a quick melt and freeze. This mistake can prove deadly.
The most important thing to remember during the winter months is that no one has the skill necessary to drive normal highway speeds on icy roads. SLOW DOWN. Speed limits are intended for ideal road conditions. Even if you’re an excellent driver who has never had so much as a parking ticket, you can’t maintain control of your vehicle without slowing down. Safety features like 4WD offer some protection during the winter months. But 4-wheel drive is not magic. It does not eliminate the danger of losing control while traveling at highway speeds on icy roads. Winter tires help your vehicle move on snow and ice covered roads. And while they can improve stopping distance to a degree, they do not increase traction in a way that makes your vehicle stop just like it was on a dry road.
For a straight level interstate, it’s suggested that traveling 35 mph to 40 mph is safest. When traveling above 45 mph, it becomes much harder to maintain control of your vehicle. If you encounter interchanges, merging traffic zones, and accident sites, you’ll need to travel even slower.
Other ways to stay safe while driving on icy roads include:
- Always wear your seatbelt
- Go easy on your brakes
- Keep extra distance from other drivers.
- Turn into a slide.
- Don’t forget that bridges freeze before roads.
- Remember that steep hills, curves, and tunnels can be especially dangerous in icy weather.
Holzer Edwards Can Help
Negligent drivers can be held financially liable for the damages they cause to others while driving on icy roads. If you or someone you love has been injured by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other accident-related expenses. Call (208) 386-9119 or toll-free at (888) 490-0992 to speak with the experienced personal injury attorneys at Holzer Edwards.