Driving can be dangerous at any time of year, as there are always road hazards, inclement weather, and dangerous drivers that may cause an accident at any moment. However, driving during the winter can be particularly dangerous as outside weather conditions, such as snow and ice, can have a number of effects that increase the chance of an accident occurring, such as making roads slick, making it harder for drivers to see, and making it difficult for drivers to maintain full control over their vehicles.
As the number of accidents that occur in the U.S. tends to increase during the winter months, it is even more essential that all drivers focus on the road and do their utmost not to endanger others on the road. Unfortunately, not all drivers take this responsibility seriously and engage in reckless driving behaviors, such as distracted driving. In fact, many drivers continue to engage in the following examples of distracted driving despite the more hazardous weather conditions that winter brings:
- Visual – removing the eyes from the road to look at something else in the car, such as a mobile device or other person.
- Manual – taking one or both hands off the wheel to use another object, such as a phone.
- Cognitive – thinking of things other than driving and surroundings, allowing these ideas and thoughts to distract the driver.
Under any circumstances these types of actions are dangerous behind the wheel; however, when the conditions in which you are driving become more hazardous due to winter weather, these types of distracted driving behaviors can greatly increase the chances that an accident will occur. While most drivers realize that winter weather can make driving more dangerous, many people are unaware of why exactly this is the case. Snow and ice, in addition to high force winds and other winter weather elements, can have a number of serious effects on the roads and a driver, such as the following:
- Pushing a car from side to side, which can be particularly dangerous if the driver does not have their hands on the wheel, thus cannot correct their path.
- Snow can cover hidden road defects, such as potholes or shoulder drop offs, that a distracted driver may notice too late in order to take defense or preventative action.
- Ice can make roads slick, which distracted drivers may fail to account for or drive appropriately on, causing an accident.
Drivers who choose to engage in distracted driving despite the known hazards of winter weather can recklessly endanger the lives and well-being of others. In such a situation, an unsuspecting person may sustain serious injury, allowing them to potentially seek restitution from the responsible driver with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Any time a driver chooses to drive in an unsafe manner, whether in the winter or otherwise, they should be held accountable for the consequences of their actions.