According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), there has been an average of 18,600 motor vehicle crashes on Wisconsin roadways during the winter months. These crashes have caused an average of 48 deaths and 4,700 injuries in Wisconsin each year. As a result, drivers should be aware of the potential hazards of driving in winter and take the appropriate precautions to avoid accidents cause or exacerbated by the weather.
First, you must ensure that you always keep a winter emergency kit in your care. At a minimum, your emergency kit should include the following:
- Warm blankets or sleeping bags
- Extra coats, hats, gloves, and scarves
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Water and high-calorie, nonperishable food
- Sand or cat litter to use as traction
- Snow shovel, windshield scraper, and booster cables
- Cell phone charger
- Fluorescent flag or cloth
If your car becomes disabled or stuck in the snow, you should stay put, as you are likely to wander in the wrong direction during a storm. Tie the fluorescent flag on the antenna and keep your dome light on so that emergency personnel will be more likely to see you. Use emergency flashers only for ten minutes per hour in order to conserve the life of your car battery.
While driving during winter weather, you always should follow other vehicles at a distance that is greater than usual. You also may need to drive slower than the speed limits, depending on the severity of the weather and the road conditions. Be gentle when using your brake and gas pedal; suddenly stopping or accelerating can cause your vehicle to slip out of control. You and all occupants of your vehicle should wear seat belts at all times. Leave extra space between you and snowplows, and observe the “move-over” law, which requires you to shift lanes or slow down when you encounter a law enforcement vehicle, tow truck, highway maintenance vehicle, or other utility vehicle that is stopped on the side of the road.
Whether your accident occurs due to another driver who fails to heed winter weather or another type of negligent situation, you may have a claim for damages under Wisconsin law if you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result. Don’t delay in contacting the Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan, and set up your free consultation today.