It’s a fact that Californians, particularly the denizens of Southern California, just don’t do too well when it comes to driving in bad weather – be it rain, fog or snow. This is the season to be merry. It’s also, unfortunately, the season when we see negligent drivers cause pileups on our highways. While not all car accidents can be prevented, a number of these weather-related crashes can be avoided with a little bit of care and planning ahead.
Here are a few tips that our California car accident attorneys hope will help keep you safe on our roadways this winter season:
- Slow down. Allow extra time to get to your destination. Leave extra distance between you and the car ahead. Apply your brakes gently to avoid skids or fishtailing. Do not exceed the speed limit. Drive at a speed that is safe given the traffic, roadway and weather conditions.
- Be prepared. Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter weather. Your tire should have plenty of tread. Windshield wipers should be in good condition. California law requires that your headlights be turned on when your windshield wipers are on. Make sure your gas tank is full, and your defroster, muffler and exhaust are in good working order. Carry tire chains and tighteners, flashlights, batteries, flares, a small shovel, windshield scraper, warm clothing, snacks and drinking water.
- If you are driving in the rain, drive with the headlights on. Stay alert for vehicle hydroplaning. Apply brakes slowly and leave extra distance between you and vehicle in front of you.
- If you are driving in the fog, drive with lights on low beam. Watch for California Highway Patrol pace vehicles to guide you through fog. Avoid crossing traffic lanes. Do not stop on highways except in emergencies. Move away from stalled or disabled vehicles. If visibility is extremely low, consider postponing your trip until the fog clears.
- If you are headed to the mountains, be prepared for the snow. Carry snow chains even if your vehicle has four-wheel drive. Observe the speed limit in chain control areas. Check the owner’s manual for operating tips on your vehicle’s braking system.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a winter weather-related car accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced California car accident lawyer who will help protect their legal rights and best interests.