As frigid temperatures swept the Midwest and Northeast on the last few days of January, the risk of snow squalls increased. Snow squalls are smaller, localized storms with brief heavy snowfall and winds. Much smaller scale than blizzards, the swift onset of snow squalls can lead to more traffic accidents than more widespread and sustained storms.
When a snow squall occurs, it may come on suddenly, with visibility suddenly dropping to near zero. The quick change in road conditions lends itself to multi-vehicle pileups, as dozens of drivers are struggling to adjust to the weather at the same time. Safe-following distances are instantly compromised, and a single person braking too aggressively in response to the snow can cause a series of rear-end collisions.
When a snow squall occurs, drivers should proceed cautiously by:
- Evaluating the safety of the environment and pulling over until after the storm if necessary
- Re-evaluating the necessary distance to brake without getting into an accident
- Noting weather forecasts as applicable to estimate other potential traffic and weather changes in the area
Winter weather conditions always make driving more difficult, but rapidly changing conditions pose unique challenges. As the thermostat drops, being more aware of your surroundings is critical to road safety. And when a storm blows in, acting appropriately can be the difference between life and death for you and the drivers you are sharing the road with.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a weather-related accident, it is important to ensure a full investigation is conducted to determine whether or not safe winter driving protocols were followed. Please consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case, and make sure that people are held accountable for their dangerous decisions on the road.