Tips to Prevent Winter Car Accidents

You can prevent most winter car accidents by adhering to basic winter road safety tips. If you do get into a car accident, our Texas car accident attorneys can help you get paid for your losses.
Main Blog Tips to Prevent Winter Car Accidents

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The average Texas winter is fairly mild with typical temperatures hovering around 50-60 degrees for most of the winter months. Despite that, winter car accidents remain a serious hazard for Texans. Typically, winter weather driving means an outside temperature of at least 45 degrees and need not involve any ice or snow.

In the early hours of the morning and the evening hours, temperatures can plunge below freezing. This can also happen when Arctic blasts sweep the state. When freezing weather hits, bridges and roadways freeze first. Because slippery ice is a major road hazard that most Texans aren’t used to dealing with, even the slightest Texas winter storm can lead to massive traffic collisions.

Fortunately, there are steps one can take to prevent and avoid most winter car accidents. However, if you do find yourself in a car accident, you can reach out to DFW Injury Lawyers who can help you navigate your car accident case and the next steps to take.

Key Takeaways

  • Winter car accidents in Texas happen more often than you might think, and usually lead to significant financial losses.
  • Preventing a winter car accident starts by preparing your vehicle, securing a winter safety kit, and remaining vigilant behind the wheel.
  • If you do get into a car accident in the winter, then it may be in your best interest to contact a Texas car accident attorney who can inform you about your legal rights and options.

Winter Car Accident Statistics

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, an auto accident happens about every 56 seconds in Texas. About 10% of those accidents are a consequence of poor weather conditions, including snow, ice, sleet, fog, and other winter hazards.

If you get caught in a rare winter storm in Texas, then you might also encounter dangerous conditions like limited visibility and/or slippery roadways. You might even encounter reckless drivers who do not factor in the poor weather conditions. All these factors can lead to a car crash.

While winters aren’t typically that harsh in Texas, it might surprise you to learn that the state still ranks as the 8th deadliest for wintertime collisions.

Are Winter Car Accidents Common in Texas?

It’s not all that often that a serious Texas winter storm sweeps through the state, but it has happened in the past, including a couple of times already this year. Winter car accidents, on the other hand, are quite common and happen every cold season.

Some winter car accidents are directly related to the weather. For instance, a recent viral video from a day that saw freezing temperatures showed numerous Texans sliding down an icy Dallas highway. While this type of sight is more common up north, most Dallas drivers aren’t equipped with the knowledge or skills to drive on ice.

Other accidents are the result of improper or poor road maintenance. In 2021, for instance, a major multi-vehicle pileup occurred in Fort Worth after a winter storm because roadway maintenance workers failed to adequately treat the roadways. Six individuals were fatally injured as a result of this accident.

Most wintertime accidents, however, are the result of driver error and negligence, and that includes the car accidents that happen in the winter months. Some of the most dangerous roads in Dallas become even more hazardous during adverse weather conditions, causing many accidents.

If you experience a winter collision that you believe was wholly or partially caused by someone else, then it makes sense to get in touch with a Texas car accident attorney. The right lawyer will go over the facts of your accident case, help you value your losses, and fight to recover compensation for them.

A car accident on a very snowy road

How Does the Winter Impact Texas Roads?

Once the weather dips below 45 degrees, roads in Texas become more dangerous. Bridges and overpasses may freeze a lot sooner than other surfaces due to icy air flowing above and below the surface of the road. This is why it is important to always slow down when approaching these types of elevated surfaces during the winter months, even if the main roadway seems clear.

Winter Car Accidents: How to Drive Safely During Texan Winters

You can help prevent and avoid most winter car accidents by adhering to basic winter road safety tips. When you take precautions and remain vigilant, you may be more prepared to safely navigate your journey even if you encounter ice, sleet, snow, or fog. Sadly, however, even if you are taking proper precautions, it doesn’t mean that other drivers are.

Purchase the Right Car

If it’s possible, then purchase the right car for the weather. During icy and snowy weather, it is a good idea to use all-wheel-drive systems. These types of vehicles use all four wheels at the same time to gain traction on the road. If you don’t have the right car to drive on icy roads, then you might want to let the weather subside before attempting to drive. In most cases, maintenance crews will treat the main roadways to ensure they are ice and snow free after a storm, so it might be best to wait it out.

Get Winter Tires on Your Car

Depending on how serious the weather is expected to get, it might be wise to invest in some winter tires for your car. Winter tires have softer rubber, which helps them be more flexible in the cold and maintain better gripping power. Winter tires also have wider grooves on their treads, which can help in slippery situations.

If you don’t wish to invest in a whole new set of tires, then it might make sense to invest in snow chains. Keep in mind that the state of Texas prohibits metal studs for most vehicles.

Keep a Winter Car Safety Kit

Another important tip is to keep a winter car safety kit inside your vehicle at all times. This road emergency kit should contain items like a flashlight, booster cables, a first-aid kit, a blanket, batteries, snacks, water, an ice scraper, and an extra pair of gloves and socks. While these tools won’t help in a long-term survival scenario, they can be life-saving in a winter roadside emergency.

Prepare Your Vehicle Ahead of the Drive

Before your drive, you should first check your tire pressure because it can be impacted by colder weather. Make sure that your ignition and battery are operating correctly. Sometimes, cold temperatures can lead to battery failure, so be sure to keep those jumper cables in your safety kit handy. Also, try to keep your gas tank at least halfway full at all times just in case a winter storm causes fuel shortages.

Ensure Optimal Visual Clarity

Replace your vehicle’s wiper blades when needed to ensure maximum visibility. You can use special winter wiper fluid or antifreeze to ensure your car is prepared for the cold. De-ice any exterior glass and de-frost your windows, if necessary. In fact, it is a good idea to clean your windows regularly because snow as well as salt from the roadways can get them dirty quickly in the winter.

Focus While You Drive

While you should always remain vigilant behind the wheel, it’s even more important to keep your focus steady during the winter months. Other vehicles could swerve out of control, forcing you to make a quick judgment call. You might also encounter ice unexpectedly because it’s sometimes difficult to see on the road.

Slow Down and Maintain a Careful Distance

Driving slowly and maintaining a proper distance between vehicles is always important, but it is especially crucial in the winter. Most speed limits are designed for optimal weather, so it’s best to slow down during wintery conditions. It is possible for other cars to quickly spiral out of control, so the more distance you have between yourself and other vehicles, the more time you will have to react and potentially avoid a crash.

Don’t Rely on All-Wheel Drive or Anti-Lock Braking System and Traction Control

Using all-wheel drive, traction control, and anti-lock braking systems will all help you navigate wintery roads, but be mindful not to become complacent relying on these tools alone. They are not foolproof, so you will need to continue to remain as focused as possible.

Call 911 if You are Stranded or Losing Control of Your Vehicle

Not all Texas car accident situations are entirely avoidable. If you are involved in a winter road accident, then you need to immediately evaluate your situation and consider your safety. Call 911 if the road conditions are hazardous for other vehicles, you can’t move your vehicle, and especially if you or anyone else is injured.

Remember, it is possible to freeze if you can’t get your car running and help cannot reach your car. Consider your situation an emergency and do not hesitate to ask for help.

Winter Car Accidents: What NOT To Do

While there are plenty of things you should do, there are an equal number of things that you shouldn’t do to remain as safe as possible during the winter months in Texas.

For one, don’t skip out on reading the owner’s manual of your car. You might be surprised to learn about its winter safety features, or you might come across certain maintenance work that you should perform when temperatures dip below freezing.

If you do expect to encounter bad weather, do not underestimate it. Consider the possibility of encountering snow, ice, sleet, or other hazards. Listen to the news, stay informed, and get the proper safety gear if you expect to deal with hazardous conditions. Another important tip, especially if you’re going on a vacation, is to not overload your vehicle.

If you are already driving and you encounter winter hazards, then do your best to avoid hard braking. This can cause your car to slide on ice or snow, and get out of control. If your brakes lock up, then you will need to try to navigate the steering to avoid hitting anything. You should also do your best to avoid quick or sharp turns. You should also avoid turning on the cruise control if you’re on icy or snowy roads.

A person sitting inside a car, looking at the snow outside
A road full of ice and sludge
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Winter Car Accidents: What Should I Do Next?

If you get into a car crash, then you need to know the proper steps to take after an accident. Following these steps will help ensure that everyone’s physical safety is prioritized while also increasing their chance to secure fair compensation.

Immediately following your car accident, you should assess your situation. If there are any serious injuries, call 911. If it’s freezing and your car won’t start, then look for a heat source nearby or call 911 before you lose reception or your battery runs out.

Next, if you’re not injured, then start collecting evidence at the scene of the crash. Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle, along with the positioning of all the vehicles immediately after the collision. If there are witnesses nearby, then consider asking for their contact information in case they are willing to speak with the police. You can also check around to see if nearby drivers had dash cams or if there are nearby surveillance cameras that may have captured the crash on film. Most importantly, do not forget to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.

Once the police arrive, you must cooperate with the investigation. You should also get a full physical checkup as soon as possible. If your losses are starting to add up, then your next step should be to contact a Texas car accident lawyer who can help understand whether you have the necessary cause for filing a car accident lawsuit.

How a Texas Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

A Texas car accident lawyer can help you go over exactly what happened and how the accident has impacted your life. From there, you can analyze who or what might have caused your accident. If you’re not sure, then an attorney can help you determine liability by analyzing police reports and going over relevant evidence.

If your attorney determines that the accident was likely caused primarily by someone else and your losses are significant, then you might have legal recourse. Your attorney can help you properly value your losses, collect evidence to prove your claims, and file all the right paperwork to seek out a claim for financial compensation. Your Texas car accident attorney will prepare your case, negotiate with the other party (including insurance companies) for fair compensation, as well as represent you if your case goes to trial.

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Can I Claim Damages for a Winter Car Accident?

All winter car accidents are unique, so you might want to speak to a car accident lawyer before you pursue a claim for compensation. Typically, you may seek damages for a winter car accident when the negligence of another person caused you injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and fractures, or financial losses like pay cuts and loss of employment.

When you speak to the right lawyer, they can help alleviate your worries about how to cope with your losses or how your medical bills will get paid. Your car accident attorney will fight to make sure you get paid for all the losses you may have suffered as a result of another party’s negligence. Depending on your case, you may be able to seek out economic damages, like lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage, as well as non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

Were You Injured in a Winter Car Accident? Call Today For a Free Consultation

Winter car accidents can lead to a shocking windfall of financial losses. You may expect to have losses in the form of property damage and medical bills from your injury, but you might not initially consider your long-term losses like lost wages, loss of companionship, or mental health issues.

Here at DFW Injury Lawyers, our team of legal experts has ample experience valuing personal injury claims and helping injured individuals consider the totality of their losses. Schedule a free meeting with our team now to discuss the specifics of your accident, the extent of your losses, and your legal options moving forward.

Article Sources

  1. Driving in Bad Weather Fact Sheet
  2. Cars Seen Sliding Along Icy Dallas Highway Amid Dangerous Ice Storm
  3. 'Deficient' road treatment, speeding led to deadly multi-vehicle crash in 2021 winter storm, NTSB determined

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