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Tips for Avoiding Motor Vehicle Accidents in Snowy and Icy Weather

Though winter storm Jonas has finished dumping snow on the East Coast, the residual effect will be with us for a while. Statistics show that the bulk of motor vehicle accidents occur in the winter months, with snow and ice the major cause of crashes. Here are some tips to help you minimize the risk of injury on snowy or icy roads.

Clean Off Your Car Before You Hit the Road

Not only is this a good idea, it’s the law in New Jersey. In fact, the legislature has put some teeth in the law, increasing the fines for motorists who fail to remove snow or ice from their vehicles and travel on the state’s roadways. At a minimum, you can face a $25-75 fine, just for having snow or ice on the windows, roof or hood of your car. If snow or ice flies off your car and cause personal injury or property damage, you can be fined up to $1,000. Make certain you have a good scraper and a brush and clean your car completely before you head out.

Let Others Know You Are There

In winter conditions, visibility can be a challenge. Turn your headlights on if there’s any snow coming down. It will increase the likelihood that others will see you.

Put on Your “Winter Driving” Hat

If you’ve lived in the north at all, you know you have to take a different approach behind the wheel when the weather is cold. It’s not just when it’s snowing…there may be black ice on the pavement. Here are the key behaviors that constitute smart winter driving:

  • Watch your speed—Stay at or below the posted speed, as it will help prevent fishtailing and will give you plenty of time and distance to stop, even if you skid
  • Don’t slam on your brakes—Feather, or gently tap, your brakes as you approach an intersection or traffic light. You’ll maintain better control.
  • Don’t hit the gas—If your wheels start to spin as you leave an intersection, let up on the gas a little, then ease down on the accelerator. You’ll get better traction.
  • Maintain a little extra distance when moving down the road—The general rule, in good weather, is 10 feet per 10 miles per hour behind the vehicle in front of you. In snow and ice, you may have challenges stopping in that short of a distance, so increase your distance by 50-100%. Better safe than sorry.

Contact the New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr

At the office of Harold J. Gerr, Attorney at Law, we have fought for the rights of personal injury victims in central New Jersey for more than four decades. We carefully choose the cases we handle, so that we can provide the highest levels of service and personal attention to each client. We are also happy to take over your case, if your first lawyer does not seem to have your best interests in mind.

To set us a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call our office at 732-537-8570.

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