December 21 is the first official day of winter. As Fall River car accident lawyers who represent injured victims of auto accidents in the area, we know and understand very well the dangerous conditions drivers face during the winter. There is one thing we all count on to help us get to our destinations safely when the roads become icy – road salt. In the cold weather, salt is a precious commodity. States and townships work hard to ensure that they have an adequate supply of road salt during the cold and icy winter months.
There are alternatives to salt, but conserving it is not an option when it comes to keeping roads safe for motorists. An editorial in the Herald News points to the winter ice storm on Dec. 8 when suddenly icy conditions wreaked havoc on highways, bridges and overpasses throughout Bristol County, resulting in many car accidents. Both bridges connecting Fall River and Somerset had to be shut down. Salt prices have also gone up because of last year’s long winter. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is apparently paying 36 percent more for road salt this year compared to last year. The price has shot up from $51.95 per ton to $70.65.
Driving Safely in the Winter
There are of course many precautions Fall River residents can take during the winter to ensure roadway safety:
- First and foremost, do not drive in wintry or stormy weather if you don’t have to. It is best to avoid treacherous conditions if you can.
- Slow down. In normal conditions, you should maintain a following distance of three seconds between you and another car. On snowy or icy roadways, increase that to a full eight to 10 seconds. It may take you longer to get to your destination. But a little patience will keep you much safer on the road.
- Get unstuck the right way. Do not spin your wheels, which will cause you to dig a deeper hole. Instead clear the snow behind and in front of all four tires and liberally spread sand in front of or behind drive wheels.
- Tackle a skid smartly. Do not panic. Don’t slam on the brakes. Take your foot off the gas and steer your car in the direction you want to go. Wait for the car to slow down so you can regain control.
- Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition.
- If your visibility is hampered, pull over to a safe spot until the storm subsides and then continue onward.
- Avoid impaired or distracted driving. The risk of a crash is heightened especially in inclement weather.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident this winter, please make sure you protect your rights. File a report with the concerned law enforcement agency. Obtain as much physical evidence from the scene as possible. Get contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the incident. Take photographs of the accident scene including roadway conditions. Contact an experienced Fall River car accident lawyer who will fight for your rights and ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected.