There is no denying that winter driving brings its share of challenges, especially for drivers in states such as Minnesota that experience especially harsh weather conditions. Many drivers in Ramsey County have already experienced near misses or outright car accidents during past winters, and many drivers will experience similar situations this year. It is important for drivers to recognize this seasonal risk, focus on staying safe and understand their options in the event that they do experience an accident.
Winter season off to deadly start
This season, people living in Minnesota have already had numerous reminders of the driving dangers that winter weather can introduce. According to Minnesota’s KBJR-TV, during a snowstorm in early December, the State Patrol reported a staggering 265 crashes during the 11-hour period between 12 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m. Tuesday. Among those crashes were 36 involving injuries and 4 fatalities, with one fatality involving a driver who slid into oncoming traffic after losing control of the vehicle due to slick road conditions.
According to Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety, summer months when motorcyclists are on the roads are often the months with the highest number of recorded fatalities. However, even if the winter months are not the worst for fatalities, the OTS reports that more crashes generally occur during winter, and that the season introduces more safety hazards than any other season does. Fortunately, there are many simple adjustments that Minnesota drivers can make to lower their risk of experiencing serious winter accidents.
Safe driving tips from the OTS
The OTS recommends that Minnesota drivers exercise special caution during winter, especially during inclement weather. Drivers can reduce the risk of accidents for themselves – and others – by doing the following:
- Build plenty of time into travel schedules and base travel speeds on road conditions rather than posted speed limits.
- Increase following distance, particularly behind snowplows, and leave plenty of time and space to stop.
- Use seat belts and make sure that children or other passengers are safely secured.
- Remove all snow and ice from windshields, mirrors, headlights and signals.
- Turn on headlights during inclement weather conditions.
These simple steps can help prevent unnecessary winter driving accidents. Of course, some accidents will be unavoidable due to road conditions. Sadly, other accidents will still occur because drivers decided to drive carelessly or recklessly.
Tips for winter accident victims
Anyone who is harmed by a winter driving accident involving another driver should consider speaking with an attorney. During the winter, determining liability for an accident can be challenging, but in many cases, it can be shown that another driver acted recklessly by leaving an inadequate following distance, driving too quickly or otherwise making decisions that were unsafe given the weather conditions.
If you are hurt in an accident this winter and believe that another driver played a direct role in causing it, make sure to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your options for pursing compensation.