New York winters can be brutal. If you have to drive, you likely keep a close watch on weather forecasts during winter months because navigating high-traffic roadways in poor weather conditions is stressful. While you may take necessary precautions to improve safety while driving in winter, you can't control what other motorists do.
Just as some people run red lights or travel at excessive speeds at other times of the year, some drivers still do things in the winter that risk injury or death. It's a good idea to have a plan of action ahead of time, if you're involved in a collision and suffer an injury.
Know how to apply fundamental safety maneuvers
It's one thing to read about or have an instructor tell you what to do in certain situations when driving conditions are poor or the weather is inclement. It's quite another to know how to correctly apply the lessons. The following list includes helpful tips that may lower your risk for injury when you travel in New York in winter:
- You may have learned to steer into a skid and to gently remove your foot from the gas pedal if you start to slide. However, if you have never attempted these maneuvers, it's easy to panic or forget how to execute them when needed, so it helps to practice them in a safe environment, like an empty parking lot.
- Stomping on non-antilock brakes or pumping anti-lock brakes can cause your situation to get worse because you are doing the opposite of what you should do. Anti-lock brakes work when you issue a single stomp, and non-antilock brakes require pumping.
- Drivers who forget that it takes a vehicle much longer to stop when roads are slippery or when traveling at high rates of speed increase their chances for collision and place nearby drivers at risk for injury.
During winter, pile-up accidents often occur when two cars collide, then a string of upcoming cars in traffic are unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the cars that already crashed. Visibility is also often poor during winter, especially during daylight savings time because it gets darker a lot earlier and stays darker longer in the morning.
If a negligent winter driver hits you
If someone is careless behind the wheel, resulting in your injury, you may face additional hardships beyond your physical injuries. For instance, taking time off work during recovery may cause you to lose income. You may suffer emotional trauma due to the crash.
If your injuries are severe or life-threatening, you may face partial or full permanent disability that requires specialized care, which is expensive. New York law allows you to seek full recovery for your losses.