Don't Repeat These Dangerous Winter Driving Habits, 'Groundhog Day'-Style
In the '90s cult-classic comedy, "Groundhog Day," the main character—a Pittsburgh weatherman played by the legendary Bill Murray—finds himself somehow living the same day over and over again.
Sometimes, being a personal injury attorney can feel a little bit like that. Even though every accident is unique, we often hear the same crash scenarios over and over again—especially during the cold-weather months.
The injury attorneys at Edgar Snyder & Associates don't want you to be one of those Pennsylvania drivers who are constantly repeating the same dangerous winter driving habits.
While hilarity ensued when Murray's fictional Phil relived the same day over and over, trust us when we tell you that repeating these five cold-weather driving habits can lead you to be a crash culprit.
1. Being a Peephole Driver
You've seen these folks before: They have a foot of snow on top of their cars, and they only scraped enough snow and ice off their windshields to "peep" out at the road ahead.
Don't be that guy.
Not only is it a summary traffic violation in Pennsylvania to drive with any snow or ice that "obstructs, obscures or impairs" a motorist's view of the road—it’s also dangerous.
Do yourself and everyone else on the road a favor: Don't be a peephole driver. Pay attention to the weather forecast, and if snow is expected, make sure to set aside enough time to properly clear off your car.
2. Forgetting to Check Your Tires
The quality of the tread on your tires could mean the difference between safely making your way home and being in a car accident.
There are many reasons to do so—perhaps the biggest of which is stopping distance. Experts estimate that stopping distance can improve nearly 40 percent when you use snow tires.
3. Driving Aggressively
Do you regularly travel over the speed limit, find yourself tailgating, or yelling at drivers in front of you for driving too slowly? Are obscene hand gestures and horn honking a routine part of your commute? If so, then you might be an aggressive driver—which can increase your chances of being in a car accident, especially in the winter.
Following too closely is of particular concern when roads are covered in snow and ice. While tailgating and weaving in and out of traffic might seem harmless to you, know that it puts you and everyone else on the road at risk.
Don't be in so much of a hurry that you fail to leave yourself enough distance to respond to poor road conditions, as well as the actions of other drivers.
4. Driving Distracted
Texting and driving is always a bad idea—taking your eyes and focus off the road for just a few seconds can cause a serious accident and significant injuries. It's especially unwise to drive while distracted when roads are slick with snow, ice, or freezing rain.
Texting and driving isn't the only way motorists drive distracted. Playing with the radio, fidgeting with the heat controls, eating, and applying makeup are all potential causes of crashes.
Keeping your eyes and attention on the road can save a life—especially in the winter, when emergency situations arise that could require you to react quickly. Here’s the single-most important piece of advice the car accident injury attorneys here at Edgar Snyder & Associates can give: When you're behind the wheel, make sure that driving is your sole priority.
5. Not Knowing What to Do When Stranded
The freeze-thaw cycle is something residents of Pennsylvania deal with every winter—and many have probably hit their fair share of the potholes it helps create. Pockmarked and poorly maintained roads have led to blown tires and other issues that force drivers to park their cars on the side of the road while they await a tow truck or other emergency help.
Taking the wrong actions while stranded on the side of the road could actually cause a secondary accident. Follow these tips to keep safe:
- Make sure your vehicle is completely off the road.
- Make sure you are visible. Hang a bright cloth from your car, and make sure your hazard lights are on.
- Don't leave your car unless you know where you can get help. Walking along a slick roadway with no way for other drivers to see you can cause a serious accident.
- Light two flares—one in the front of your car, and one in the back.
We hope the remainder of your winter—which Punxsy Phil said will last another six weeks—is accident-free, and that you never have to call us for legal help. That said, please know that if you or someone you care about is hurt in a car accident caused by the bad driving habits of another motorists, our injury attorneys are here to help you.
We're available 24-7. Call us today for a free case reviewThere's never an obligation to use our services, and there's never a fee unless we get money for you.