Tips for Safe Winter Weather Driving in Oregon
When it comes to lifestyle, Oregon has something for everyone. With progressive cities, abundant green spaces, and high rankings for quality of life, it’s tough to go wrong.
Whether or not you prefer an active outdoor lifestyle or would rather take in the sights from the safety of your automobile, each season offers its own beautiful landscapes to enjoy. But as all Oregonians know, the weather can change quickly, and each season brings its own challenges.
Depending on where one lives, winter may present the greatest challenge of all. And even if you live in an area that only receives snow and ice occasionally, it’s always smart to be prepared.
In this article, we’ll provide some tips to help keep you safe while driving in winter.
Dangers of Winter Driving
Most of us have seen the stories recounting harsh winter weather conditions in Oregon and elsewhere that led to drivers sitting on snowy highways for hours at a time. Unfortunately, bad weather can also lead to much more than inconvenience. According to AAA, bad weather results in almost 500,000 crashes every year, resulting in more than 2,000 deaths. Many of these crashes are preventable.
Besides preventable death, personal Injuries also arise from dangerous winter weather-related automobile crashes. But keep in mind that some dangers can result from the cold, winter conditions, even without a crash. Therefore, we’ll discuss tips aimed at dealing with both types of dangers.
Below are some common-sense tips shared by experts to increase driving safety during winter months.
Winter Driving Tips to Stay Safe
- If the weather is bad, don’t drive unless you have to. This may seem obvious, but many people drive when they don’t really need to, only to later regret being involved in an accident. Public transportation may be a better option, if possible.
- Check your battery. Many car batteries have grown old and can die with colder temperatures. The last thing you want is to be stranded because your car won’t start.
- Make sure you have plenty of gas. If you get stuck in traffic for hours, you’ll burn more.
- Check road conditions ahead of time. You may be able to find an alternate route that is safer. You may also find it’s better to check into a hotel and avoid driving at all.
- Allow for lots of extra time.
- Turn on headlights.
- Keep an extra blanket in your car. Many experts similarly advise keeping extra water and snacks. That way, if you have an accident or stall, you can better stay warm, fed, and hydrated.
- Use traction tires and snow chains, when appropriate. This is the law in Oregon.
- When driving in ice and snow, do everything slowly. It’s important to drive slower and to brake and turn more slowly. Slamming on the brakes can lead to a skid.
- Leave lots of space between you and other cars. Don’t be the driver who gets caught in a chain reaction of sliding and crashing. Give yourself lots of extra room.
What if You Are Injured in an Accident with Another Automobile or Semi-Truck?
Many people wrongly assume that any accident arising from snow, ice, or other weather events is just the result of an unavoidable accident. The truth is, many accidents could have been prevented if the other driver had acted appropriately.
The law requires all drivers to exercise reasonable caution under the circumstances. If they do not, they can be held liable for their negligence.
For example, the posted speed limit may be 45 miles per hour on a particular road. But if the road is covered with snow and ice, it could be completely unreasonable for a driver to drive at that speed.
Similarly, under such dangerous circumstances, a reasonable driver would be expected to leave more space between vehicles than when the weather is sunny and dry.
Call with Questions
At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we dedicate our practice to upholding the standards of society to help ensure that all Oregon families are safer. If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident under bad weather conditions, the rights and liabilities arising from the situation may not be immediately evident to you. Our personal injury lawyers are experienced in investigating accidents and holding wrongdoers responsible for their negligence.
We are also happy to answer questions for the motoring public. Please call with your questions and we will be happy to answer them.