Staying safe on Pennsylvania roads this winter

With the excitement of the holidays behind us, Pennsylvania residents, like most residents in the northern United States, have something else to look forward to (or perhaps to dread)-several months of winter driving. The weather in the upcoming months can be the most treacherous time of the year to drive, due to the continual accumulation of snow and ice.

Fortunately for Pennsylvania motorists, the worst of the heightened danger of being involved in a car accident can largely be avoided. As an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, motorists would be well advised to take a few moments to ensure that they are prepared for winter driving conditions.

Before getting behind the wheel, it is advisable for motorists to take several steps to ensure that their vehicle is ready for adverse driving conditions. First, it is important to ensure that all fluid levels are full and the windshield wipers, heater and defroster are in good working condition. Additionally, motorists should make sure that their tires have sufficient tread, as worn tires can cause the vehicle to easily lose traction on ice or snow-covered roadways. Finally, motorists should ensure that the windshield, windows, headlights, brake lights and turn signals are free of snow and ice before setting out, as many accidents can result if these areas are obstructed.

When traveling in snowy or icy conditions, slowing down is perhaps the most important precaution that motorists can take, as going too fast can cause the vehicle to skid or become unable to stop when needed. As slowing down extends transit times, motorists should leave earlier than they would normally, so they have plenty of time to reach their destination.

In addition to slowing down, motorists should take extra care on bridges and ramps, as ice (especially black ice) can quickly form in these areas without warning. Pennsylvania law also requires motorists to turn on their headlights when the windshield wipers are being used to increase the car's visibility to other motorists during adverse conditions. Finally, it is important for motorists to allow for triple the amount of braking distance than normal to give the vehicle sufficient time to come to a stop in slippery conditions.

An attorney can help

Although proper precautions can minimize the risk of car accidents during the winter, they cannot eliminate it. If you are involved in a car accident, it is important for you to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Insurance companies may offer you a quick settlement before the full extent of your injuries are known. An attorney can advise you on your situation and ensure that you receive a fair settlement offer.