Accidents involving snow and ice are especially dangerous. And unfortunately, they are all too common in Pennsylvania. In 2019, there were 6,083 reported crashes in PA involving snowy or slushy roads, which equates to nearly five percent of all crashes in the state that year. There were an additional 3,876 accidents involving ice or ice patches, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Together, these accidents led to 39 deaths.
If you were injured in a crash in dangerous winter weather, we can help. Contact Gay & Chacker for a free legal consultation. We’ll discuss what happened and your options for seeking compensation for your medical bills, lost income related to your injuries, and other damages.
Help Avoid a Crash in Snowy and Icy Weather
PennDOT offers tips for safe driving in the winter season, such as:
- Listening to weather and travel advisories, and avoiding driving if it’s unnecessary
- Slowing down and increasing following distance
- Looking out for black ice – roads that look wet but are actually frozen
- Turning on your headlights when your wipers are on, per state law
- Avoiding cruise control when driving on snow-covered roads
Pennsylvania drivers can use 511PA to get traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts and winter road conditions, snowplow locations, traffic speed information, and more. This free service is available by calling 5-1-1, visiting 511PA.com, or downloading the 511PA smartphone app. It can help drivers plan ahead when they need to drive in winter weather.
It’s also important to maintain your vehicle in the winter to ensure it’s working properly. PennDOT urges motorists to do the following:
- Check that fluid levels are full and that the heater and defroster are working correctly
- Consider installing winter wiper blades
- Ensure tires are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth. In areas prone to heavy snow, drivers might want to use dedicated snow tires or tire chains
- Have a mechanic check the brakes, battery, hoses, and belts
Check out PennDOT’s Winter Driving Guide for the full list of tips. Unfortunately, you can be as vigilant as possible and still fall victim to a winter driving accident if other drivers on the road act carelessly.
Why Winter Accidents Commonly Happen
Driving in snow and ice is inherently dangerous to drivers and passengers in vehicles of all sizes. Negligent driving can add to the risks. Below are some behaviors that can increase the chance of a crash.
Driving Too Fast
Motorists must use their best judgement about speed in snowy and icy weather. Failing to drive at an appropriate speed can make it much more difficult to react in time if traffic slows or stops. Speeding can also increase the risk of fishtailing, unintentionally entering another lane, and other incidents that cause crashes.
Tailgating or Following too Closely
Drivers need more reaction time in poor weather conditions. Failing to allow enough space between vehicles can lead to rear-end crashes, especially on slippery winter roads.
Failing to Clear Snow and Ice from Vehicles
It may take some extra time, but clearing all snow and ice from a vehicle is critical. Failing to completely clear the windshield, mirrors, and windows can reduce visibility. As the vehicle warms up, snow or ice can also dislodge from the vehicle, hit another car, and cause a crash.
Other common causes of crashes in snowy and icy weather include:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Stopping in a lane instead of pulling over when there is an issue or emergency
- Municipalities’ failure to maintain safe road conditions
- Braking issues or defects
Any kind of careless driving in snowy and icy conditions can lead to serious accidents. Crashes that involve winter weather often involve multiple vehicles, catastrophic injuries, and property damage.
Contact Our Experienced Crash Attorneys
The team at Gay & Chacker is vastly familiar with the winter weather in Pennsylvania. Most of us are PA residents ourselves, commuting to work on state highways and city roads in Philadelphia every day. And after handling thousands of auto accident cases since 1965, we also know how to get maximum compensation for our clients.
Our firm takes on both big and small cases, from fender benders to serious accidents. Some of our clients have suffered from broken bones and lacerations, while others have sustained catastrophic, lifelong car crash injuries or lost loved ones. When you hire our firm, our attorneys will handle your injury claim while keeping you informed on its status and the next steps. We will work hard to get the best financial recovery for you possible, whether we settle out of court or go to trial.
Contact Gay & Chacker to learn more about how we can help you.
There is no risk or obligation. We’ll charge you no legal fees unless we recover compensation for your damages. Call us today at (215) 567-7955 for a free consultation and start moving forward.
Frequently Asked Questions About Snow- and Ice-Related Accidents
Below are answers to some common questions we hear about accidents involving snow and ice.
I was involved in a crash that wasn’t my fault, but the road was icy. Who is to blame?
This question is difficult to answer without all the details of the situation. The other driver may have been driving carelessly by speeding, driving distracted, following too closely, or doing something else that caused the accident. The best thing to do is to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney. Gay & Chacker offers free, no-obligation consults to people who were injured in vehicle crashes. We welcome you to give us a call to discuss what happened and who might be to blame for the crash.
Won’t my insurance company just pay me after a vehicle crash in snow/ice? Do I really need to file a lawsuit?
Technically, your insurance company is supposed to pay you what you deserve when you’ve been injured. However, insurers instead want to pay the lowest amount possible (or nothing if they can) to people who file a claim for compensation. On the other hand, when an injured victim has legal representation, insurers tend to change their tune. Hiring an attorney can help ensure you receive every dollar you deserve.
How much money can I get from a lawsuit involving a winter weather crash?
Compensation in Pennsylvania can cover many areas for someone who was injured in a crash. Recoveries might include:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages and benefits now and in the future,
- Pain and suffering,
- Relationships and marriage impact,
- End-of-life expenses if a loved one was killed, and more.
Every case is different, so the type of compensation and how much you can recover will depend on exactly what happened and the unique facts of your case. The best thing to do is to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania auto accident lawyer for advice. Our firm offers free case evaluations, and there is no obligation.