When winter storms bring snow and ice, towns and municipalities send their snowplows out to clear the roads. Responsibility for keeping roadways and sidewalks clear differ by location. Pedestrians, motorists, and property owners should know their role in staying safe this winter.
When snowplows are sent out to clear the roads, they are working hard to prepare a safe passage for motorists. Drivers must give snowplow trucks a wide area to maneuver around stopped cars or other obstacles. Snowplows are out because road conditions are bad, so they will need more time to come to a stop in an emergency.
Snowplows move slowly. Sometimes it may be frustrating to drive behind one at the pace they use to clear the roads of snow and ice, but that is the safest place to be. Attempting to pass the plow means you will be accelerating to a part of the road that has not yet been cleared. Stay at least three car lengths behind the plow so that your car will not be hit by any salt the truck is depositing onto the road, or debris thrown up from the plow blade. If you must pass, do so on the left as most plow blades have a large overhang to the right. Never pull directly in front of a snowplow after passing as this could cause an accident with the snowplow truck.
Snowplow accidents can happen for a number of reasons. Drivers work long shifts in the early morning hours or overnight, so they may be susceptible to drowsy driving. The driving hazards presented by bad winter weather, such as low visibility and slippery roads, can also cause snowplow accidents. Speeding is another factor as inexperienced drivers may overestimate their vehicle’s ability to handle snowy roads and drive too fast.
Snow and Pedestrian Safety
After the snowplows have come and gone, the snow from the plows often leave blocked pedestrian pathways in their wake. Pedestrian accidents can happen when snow blocking walkways force people to enter the roadway to continue their path. This is an extremely dangerous scenario as snowfall reduces the width of the roadway, even if it has been cleared. Snow covered streets with narrow passageways for cars is no place for a pedestrian. Winter conditions also make it harder for cars to stop quickly, should they need to.
Other hazards for pedestrians include drains blocked by snow and ice that lead to the accumulation of water at curbs, and patches of snow and ice that can cause a slip and fall. High snow drifts at crossings can also block visibility for pedestrians. Residential and commercial property owners are responsible for clearing the snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their property within a given time frame. Failure to do so can result in fines, or being held liable for accidents that happen on the property.
Passaic Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Injured Victims of Winter Weather-Related Accidents
If you have been injured in an accident or have questions about your responsibilities when winter weather hits, consult with a knowledgeable Passaic personal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call 877-249-4600 to schedule a free consultation, or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Highland Park, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout the state.