December 29, 2015 | Car Accidents
Some dangerous conditions that drivers in Indiana and around Indianapolis can encounter are icy roads and the hidden and deadly “black ice” that can blend into the tarmac and cause the driver of a car or truck to almost instantly lose control of his or her vehicle. It is a fact that nearly a quarter of all traffic accidents are the direct result of poor weather conditions; winter being top on the list.
Ice can form quickly on roadways in the colder months with relative ease. Transitioning from a mostly wet and somewhat slippery liquid water state to a near-microscopic coating of ice can be one of the worst circumstances when operating a motor vehicle. This happens when the surface of a wet roadway drops below freezing, due to a temperature change or an increase in the wind speed. Even when the weather seems to be improving, the threat of ice on an Indiana road does not necessarily go away; this is because the roadway warms more slowly than the ambient air, and the ice is still present on the road surface even though temperatures are above freezing.
Ice, sleet, freezing rain and snow can each prevent a car or truck’s tires from maintaining sufficient grip on the roadway. This can impair steering control and the ability to stop in time to avoid a traffic wreck. And, although an ice-covered road is surely one of the most dangerous situations a driver can find himself on, that so-called black ice is even more so.
Black ice, so named for the way in which it appears to be dark like the roadway itself, is actually an extremely thin layer of tremendously slippery ice on the surface of the road. Appearing as a wet stretch of road, a street that is covered in black ice can fool a driver into assuming that conditions are not as bad as they truly are.
Instead of looking ice-covered, a road with black ice appears to be slightly damp with a sort of matte appearance versus the typical glossy look that an iced-up street usually exhibits. Black ice tends to form at night or during the early morning hours, which also makes it difficult for drivers to detect the road’s condition before getting into trouble. Here are just a few tips for making winter driving a little safer:
– Winterize your vehicle by having a technician check the brakes, heater, exhaust system, and lights
– Check all fluids, especially the windshield washer reservoir, and carry extra solvent just in case
– Control your vehicle speed in accordance with conditions; if bad weather is coming and temps are dropping below 30 degrees, take it easy
– Allow for the increased stopping distance (three times’ worth) needed on slippery road surfaces; always allow a larger gap between your vehicle and the car ahead
– Allow for additional travel time; if you’re late, don’t take a chance on your safety by rushing to get to your destination
– Respect those typically hazardous portions of any roadway, such as wind-chilled underpasses and overpasses, as well as shady areas where ice can form faster than the surrounding roadway
– Keep your phone handy in case you need it quick
– Pay particular attention to the condition of your windshield wipers and always carry a brush or scraper for ice and snow removal
– Avoid using your vehicle’s cruise control on slippery or snowy roadways
– Check your tires for sufficient tread and maintain proper tire inflation pressures
– Avoid slamming on your brakes or making sudden steering actions that could cause a loss of vehicle control
– Keep your headlights on their low-beam setting when driving in snowy conditions
– Consider an emergency kit for each of your vehicles; some important items may include a tow strap, shovel, hazard triangle, first aid kit, flashlight, blanket and a set of warm, dry clothes
The professional legal team at Fountain Law Firm knows that many drivers can find themselves caught off guard following that first winter snow. One of the most dangerous times to drive is the day after an area receives its first true snowstorm. Months of driving in much milder conditions can cause many motorists to become complacent; when the roadways become snowy and icy, everyone on the road is learning how to drive all over again.
At the Fountain Law Firm, we know that no matter how much preparation one makes, there is always a chance that a traffic accident will happen to you. If you or someone you love has been badly hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle crash, we recommend that you speak with a personal injury lawyer.
Any type of traffic collision has the potential to cause serious bodily harm, not to mention possible long-term medical complications. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, as a result of negligence on the part of another motorist, please feel free to contact us. Merry Fountain is always ready to help the victims of passenger car or commercial trucking related traffic wrecks. For a free, no-obligation consultation, click the green button to tell us about your case, or call (888) 242-HURT to schedule a face-to-face meeting with Merry right away.