New Yorkers have enjoyed a comparatively mild winter so far, but we are now heading into a season well-known for sudden and fierce ice storms. In January 1998, a now-famous storm devastated northern New York and New England from January 5-9, leaving roads impassable and causing an estimated 40 deaths. Another one gripped the Northeastern U.S. from January 23–24, 2017, causing accidents and injuries.
Ideally, it would be best if you stayed home when the weather turns icy and dangerous, but for many of us, this is not an option. We have to work, attend school, and carry out necessary errands. When obligation or necessity forces you to drive on icy roads, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of a collision.
Confirm that your car is ready for sub-zero driving
Check your car fluid levels and battery as well the pressure in your tires. You should also confirm that you’re only using no-freeze windshield washer fluid so that your view is not compromised when the temperatures drop. For added security, plan an alternate route to your destination in case freezing rain and snow make your primary route too dangerous.
Master defensive driving
Quick reflexes and careful maneuvering have prevented many accidents. If you have a new car, learn how it responds to sudden turning or braking on icy surfaces by practicing at slow speeds in an empty parking lot or on rarely-accessed back roads. If your vehicle behaves erratically, don’t take chances on the open road: have it inspected by a mechanic.
Wear a seatbelt
Always wear a seatbelt and make sure that your passengers do too. If you have children young enough to need infant seats, secure it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In addition, you should sit so that there is at least 10” between your chest and the airbag cover. This distance reduces your risk of being injured if the airbag deploys.
Keep a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead
One of the most recommended ways of avoiding a collision is to maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead. The National Safety Council recommends a minimum following distance of three seconds during ideal driving conditions and considerably more during adverse weather conditions or if you are driving behind a transport truck or trailer.
Unfortunately, a serious accident is always a risk whenever you drive during an ice storm, especially if another driver is reckless or negligent behind the wheel. If you are injured because someone was in a hurry to get to their destination on icy roads, a New York personal injury attorney will fight aggressively to get justice and compensation for you. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx lawyer handling accident cases. Call 718-329-9500 to set up a free in-person initial consultation.