Wintertime in Colorado comes with significant car accident risks and road hazards. Bad weather can cause visibility impairments, vehicle part failures, issues with vehicle traction and stability, and extreme temperatures that impact driver capabilities. Winter weather events can also impact roadway infrastructure, surface conditions and traffic flow. Use these tips to reduce your risk of a car accident this winter.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Many winter car accidents can be prevented with proper preparation on the driver’s part. Motor vehicle owners and operators should always inspect their vehicles before attempting to drive in winter weather. It may be necessary to winterize a vehicle when the weather starts changing, for example, such as by adding snow tires or adjusting tire inflation for colder temperatures. Drivers should always check their fluids, tires, windshield wipers, lights and other vehicle parts before heading out to ensure a properly working vehicle.
Check the Weather
Our team of Aurora car accident lawyers know that even the most experienced Colorado driver can end up in a car accident if he or she gets caught in a bad winter storm. Always check the weather and keep up with the latest storm updates before setting out in Colorado. If bad weather is predicted, such as a snowstorm, high winds, sleet, hail or ice, stay home.
If you must drive in bad winter weather, make sure you are adequately prepared to navigate the predicted conditions. Bring emergency supplies with you in case you get stuck out in a storm, such as food and blankets. Tell your friends and family where you’re going and what route you’re taking so they know where to find you if you don’t arrive at your destination.
Reduce Your Speed
Obeying Colorado’s speed limits can help you avoid a crash in any weather. In the winter, however, it is especially important not to drive above the speed limit or too fast for conditions. Speed limits are in place to keep drivers safely in control of their vehicles. If any winter weather is present, a driver may have to reduce his or her speed below the posted limit to adjust for dangerous road conditions.
Speeding can make it difficult or impossible for a driver to stop in time to prevent a collision – especially on a wet or icy road. Driving too fast increases the risk of hydroplaning in a puddle of water or skidding on ice. This includes black ice, which is too thin to be visible to drivers. Leave early enough to be able to take your time when driving this winter. Reduce your speed and be prepared to hit your brakes or stop at any moment. Avoid using cruise control, as this can make it more likely for your vehicle to skid or spin since it will try to maintain the same speed.
Increase Following Distance
Rear-end collisions are more likely to occur in winter weather or wet conditions. It can be harder for drivers to stop their motor vehicles on wet, icy or slippery roads. Visibility is also more limited in weather such as snow, fog and rain. For these reasons, drivers should increase their following distances. Putting more distance between your car and the others around you can give you more time to come to a stop if there are changing roadway conditions, such as if the driver in front of you suddenly has to hit the brakes.
What To Do if You Get Into a Car Accident This Winter
If despite your best efforts you still get involved in a car accident in Colorado this winter, contact a car accident attorney at Manning Law to discuss your rights. Another driver or party may be liable for your accident, meaning responsible for paying for your property damage and medical costs. An experienced personal injury attorney in Aurora can carefully review your case and inform you of your rights to make it easier to move forward with a car accident claim.