Severe winter weather causes very dangerous road conditions and greatly increases the risk of road traffic accidents. Weather conditions such as heavy rain, fog, snow, sleet and blizzards can reduce visibility and ice on the road can create a very dangerous road surface.
Although most drivers will reduce their speed in these conditions and be considerate to other drivers, there will be a few drivers who do not adjust their speed and stopping distances for the road conditions. If another driver behaves in this way and they are involved in a road traffic accident, they may be held to have been driving recklessly or negligently and, if the driver of the othercar has sustained an injury they could find themselves liable in a compensation claim.
Precautions to take when driving in hazardous conditions
To help avoid road traffic accidents in the winter you should:
- Before driving in risky conditions, you should determine whether it's absolutely necessary to make the journey. Driving in hazardous conditions is a dangerous task, and it's one that is sometimes best avoided if you can afford to make the journey at another time.
- Be aware of other drivers at all times. You should check mirrors frequently to ensure there is no one trying to overtake you and also keep an eye on the person in front in case they skid on black ice. This will avoid you crashing into the back of them and will also give you an indication of road surfaces ahead.
- Only drive if you can see ahead of you. If the snow, sleet or fog becomes too thick and your vision is significantly impaired you should pull over to avoid road traffic accidents. Only get on the road again when you the conditions settle down and you are confident you can clearly see what's ahead of you. This means clearing your windscreen of all ice and snow.
- Reduce your speed significantly. This means that if you skid, the chances of sustaining a personal injury are kept to a minimum and lower speeds increase your stopping distance. Remember that speed limits apply to ideal weather conditions – in poor conditions, you should reduce your speed accordingly and increase the distance between yourself and the car in front of you. This means that if they skid you have time to break and if you skid you have time to get back in control of your vehicle.
Safety checks to make before leaving the house
Before leaving the house it is very important to check the weather forecast, which you can then use to plan the safest route. If bad weather is predicted it is a good idea to take busier roads as they are more likely to be gritted and will be safer than country roads. This is why, if you know the weather is going to pose a risk, it's smart to allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, as you may have to avoid your usual route in a favour of the longer, yet safer, one (and you'll also have to be driving slower than your usual speed). Leaving much earlier will also reduce stress, meaning that you're more likely to relax and not be tempted to take any risks to get to your destination quicker.
It is also important to clear your windscreen so that visibility is good and keep de-icer in the car at all times. Remember to check that your brakes, lights and heater work before you set off. This is essential, especially when driving in severe weather conditions as it could be the difference between a safe journey and a fatal road traffic accident.
Make a claim with Thompsons today
Sometimes, even if you approach icy roads with the utmost caution, an accident may still happen. This is because, unfortunately, some negligent drivers simply do not value the safety of themselves and other road users, and they ignore all of the above precautions.
If you are involved in a road accident that was due to icy conditions, the consequences can be devastating.
So, if you've suffered an injury in a road accident that was caused, at least in part, by the negligence of another driver, contact the specialist accident compensation solicitors on 0800 0891331 and we will investigate the road traffic accident for you and advise you on your first steps to receiving the compensation you deserve on a No Win No Fee basis.