The middle of February saw yet another ice storm stretch across New York State, rendering many streets and highways unsafe. This was just the latest in a stretch of months with major storms occurring, snarling traffic and resulting in dozens of car accidents. The wintry road conditions pose major risks to drivers, with small, rear-wheel drive cars most at risk for handling problems.
Slippery roads are a common problem during and after an ice storm, particularly if temperatures stay too cold for the ice to melt. In some cases, temperatures will rise just enough to melt the top layer, leaving the slippery surface beneath as a major hazard to drivers. This can also occur after a snow melt followed by a deep freeze. In other cases, it can remain too cold for the ice to melt for weeks.
Slippery roads affect the handling of vehicles in a variety of ways. Because tires struggle to get traction, braking is severely compromised, causing difficulties both with stopping the car and also with slowing enough to properly turn. Cars will also drift on slick surfaces, tending to remain going in the same direction they were traveling before attempting to turn, resulting in cars sliding off roadways.
Another risk of slippery roads is the increased chance of a head to head collision. Cars tend to drift slightly from lane to lane in wintry conditions, and correcting course can be difficult. Overcorrecting is easy, particularly if the change in direction is sudden. When this occurs, sliding into oncoming traffic is a major risk.
If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, determining whether or not the other driver was following proper road protocols can be difficult. All too often, determining fault becomes less about discovering the truth and more about avoiding responsibility for the other driver. Please consider consulting with an experienced attorney regarding your case.