Last week's drop in temperatures, which left the Birmingham area with a thin blanket of snow, unsurprisingly caused a spike in auto accidents throughout Jefferson County. Accident rates were the highest in North Alabama where black ice caused motorists to frequently lose control of their vehicles. Inclement winter weather actually forced officials to shut down Interstate 65 near Cullman, Alabama overnight.
While accident risks linked to black ice and slippery roads may not be completely eliminated, precautions can be taken to minimize the chance that you are involved in an auto accident this winter.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a guide of precautionary steps for motorists traveling during winter weather conditions. The guide includes tips that both reduce the chance of car accidents and prepare drivers for the possibility of being stranded due to closed roadways. The NHTSA states that drivers should:
- Check tire pressure and inflate tires to recommended levels. Poor tire pressure can result in poor traction, which is a major concern during icy conditions.
- Check tire tread depth. While winter/snow tires may not be necessary for Alabama motorists, at least ensure that your tires have adequate tread.
- Check and utilize your defrosters and windshield wipers prior to departure.
- Purchase "no-freeze" wiper fluid for your windshield washer reservoir.
- As always, avoid any distracted driving such as texting or using a GPS system while behind the wheel.
- Keep a blanket and hand warmers in you trunk in the event that you become stranded.
- If at all possible, avoid travel until conditions are clear.
Auto accidents caused by snow or icy road conditions are usually rare in Alabama. However, Alabama law says that a claim can be made against the other driver if they were travelling too fast for the conditions or not paying attention to the icy conditions.
If you were injured in a car accident during last week's snowy weather conditions, seek the advice of an Alabama ice and snow car accident attorney. During your free consultation, you can learn of your legal rights, applicable insurance coverage, and proper procedures necessary to recoup your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other car accident damages.