Over the last week, Seattle has been hit with a major snow and ice storm that has resulted in hundreds of motor vehicle collisions. There are several steps you can take as a motorist to prevent a collision in snow and ice. First, when following behind other vehicles, you need to provide ample distance between the front of your car and the vehicle ahead. In icy or snowy weather conditions, you should allow at least six seconds between your vehicle and any forward vehicle. This means if you are traveling at 55 miles per hour you should allow 486 feet of stopping distance. Many motorists fail to allow sufficient stopping distance and are unable to stop in icy or snowing conditions on the interstate.
Second, when driving in snow and ice, you should avoid sudden application of your brakes to stop. If possible, you should down-shift your vehicle or gradually apply your brakes. A quick brake application in snow and ice can cause your vehicle to skid and you may lose control of your vehicle.
Third, you should make sure that the tires on your vehicle are adequate for snow and ice. If you are using summer tires or your tires are bald, you will not have adequate traction in the snow. If you frequently travel in snow and ice, you should consider the purchase of studded snow tires.
Finally, you should always make certain that you have ample gas in your tank when you leave in snowy and icy conditions. If you get stuck in traffic behind a collision, you will need adequate fuel in your vehicle to wait it out. Whenever possible, fill your tank in your neighborhood before you get onto the interstate. You should also bring winter clothes, boots, a blanket, and have some food in your car.
If you are involved in a collision as a result of another’s unsafe winter driving, you should immediately contact the police or Washington State Patrol. If they are unable to respond to the scene due to the weather conditions, take photographs of the locations of the vehicles, and collect the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses. Draw a diagram of the positions of the vehicles and photograph any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved before it is repaired.
If you are injured the collision, you should consult with an injury attorney at Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC. We have the experience necessary to assist you with your claim. Although many insurance companies will promise to “take care of you” to prevent you from seeking legal counsel, insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented parties to collect information that will limit the claim or to settle claims for less than what a good personal injury lawyer could obtain. We are here to help and provide a free initial consultation, by telephone or in-person.