Driving in Pennsylvania during the wintertime is not for the faint of heart. We have numerous snowy and icy days that make the roads slippery and, at times, nearly impossible to drive on. The recent crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Mount Pleasant Township is a sad reminder of what can happen when we are not as careful as we should be when we drive during these conditions.
The multi-vehicle crash that killed five and injured around 60 involved a tour bus and three tractor-trailers, including one UPS truck and one FedEx truck. The accident happened when the tour bus, which was driving in the left lane, crashed into the center barrier and ricocheted across the road to the right and up a steep embankment. It then rolled onto its side, slid back down onto the road and blocked both lanes of traffic. This began a chain reaction of collisions.
One of those killed in the accident was a nine-year-old girl from Brooklyn, New York who was traveling on the tour bus. The driver of the bus and another bus passenger were also killed, along with two UPS drivers. The bus was on its way from Chinatown, New York City to Cincinnati when it ran into slippery conditions on the PA Turnpike. Dozens of injury victims were rushed to nearby hospitals.
The multi-car pileup on the PA Turnpike was one of the worst auto accidents in Pennsylvania in years. But although this particular accident was more severe than most others, this type of occurrence is far from an isolated incident. The number of motor vehicle accidents increases significantly during the winter, largely due to inclement weather and the failure of drivers to properly adjust to it.
Roughly one quarter of all weather-related motor vehicle accidents happen because of slushy, icy, or snowy roads. Winter weather conditions not only make the roads more slippery, they can also reduce visibility, making things even more hazardous out there.
Tips for Avoiding the Dangers of Winter Driving
Even the most experienced drivers have difficulty navigating the Pennsylvania roadways on certain winter days. And when there is bad weather, the very best thing to do is not drive at all if possible. If you do not have any urgent need to go somewhere in your car, just stay home until the conditions improve.
That said, we know that people have to be at work and other important places, and often times, that makes it necessary to drive during inclement weather. If you are one of those who needs to drive during bad weather, here are some important tips to help avoid a winter driving accident:
Make Sure Your Car is Ready Before you Go Out
Preparation is one of the major keys to any type of success in life, and this is certainly true when it comes to safe winter driving. Before you go out and tackle the winter weather, be sure to prepare your vehicle. Check your tire tread and pressure, and if you have less than 2/32 of an inch of tread, it is time to replace that tire. You may even want to consider replacing all 4 tires with all-season tires for the winter.
Test your battery to make sure it has plenty of charge and bring jumper cables along just in case your battery dies. Fill up your wiper fluid and have extra fluid in the car; and replace your wiper blades if they are worn and leave streaks on the windshield. Finally, keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid your gas line freezing.
Move at a Manageable Speed
Speed is a contributing factor in most winter driving accidents. When the roads get icy, speed limits become meaningless. You need to drive at a speed that is slow enough to safely maneuver your vehicle under whatever conditions you are in. When there is snow or ice on the road, it is generally best to stay under 45 mph, even if you are driving on an interstate.
Keep Plenty of Distance Between You and Other Vehicles
Another common cause of winter accidents is drivers who follow other vehicles too closely. If you are tailgating someone or someone is tailgating you, rear-end collisions are far more likely if you encounter ice and lose control of the vehicle. Do your part by always allowing plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Learn How to Drive on Ice
Icy roads are one of the most challenging conditions for motorists, and many people who have four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicles mistakenly believe that they will not be affected by it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ice affects all vehicles, and everyone needs to adjust their driving whenever the road gets icy. Watch this video for more detailed tips on dealing with icy roads.
Injured in a Winter Driving Accident in Pennsylvania? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C. for Legal Help
Driving during the winter is challenging, and even if you do everything right, you cannot control the actions of others. If you or someone close to you was injured in a winter driving accident that was caused (at least in part) by another party, you may be entitled to compensation.
At Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C., we have successfully represented countless individuals who have been injured in auto accidents, tractor trailer accidents and tour bus accidents, and we can do the same for you. To schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of our experienced lawyers, message us online or call our office today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789. We look forward to serving you!