As the new year begins, it’s the ideal time to be mindful and set goals for the months ahead. Winter months in the Pacific Northwest often bring inclement weather, which can present problems for drivers. Slick roads and icy conditions can lead to loss of vehicle control, resulting in an accident. However, there are specific steps and behaviors Washington drivers can adopt to reduce their chances of suffering a car accident injury in the winter months. This post will cover some of these strategies, as well as what to do if you find yourself injured by another driver.
How to Prepare for Winter Road Conditions
Traveling along wet or snowy roadways can be challenging. Sudden skids or slides may occur, compelling you to react quickly to avoid an accident. Additionally, other drivers may lose control of their vehicles and collide with you. Let’s take a look at some strategies to help ensure your safety and minimize the likelihood you’ll experience a car accident this season.
Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter Driving
When you see snow or sleet in the forecast, it’s time to examine the safety of your car or truck. If you travel frequently, you may want to equip your vehicle with winter tires designed to grip the snow and ice to provide your car with greater handling and stability. They also enable you to brake more quickly and effectively in slippery conditions. It’s also important to make sure that your tires are fully inflated. Consider taking your vehicle in for a winter inspection, where they may add antifreeze to your vehicle, install new wiper blades, and inspect your battery. The key is for you to feel as safe as possible behind the wheel, even during inclement weather.
Leave Space Between You and the Car in Front of You
Even if you feel comfortable operating your vehicle on slick roads, other drivers may not. It’s important to increase the distance between your vehicle and the car or truck ahead of you—if they brake suddenly or lose control, you’ll have more time to react and avoid a collision. This is especially crucial when traveling at highway speeds, as you’ll need as much time as possible to respond to a hazard to minimize the odds of a crash.
Practice Mindful Driving by Avoiding Distractions
While most people recognize that texting while driving is not considered safe behavior, many still do it. However, this risky behavior can lead to serious consequences, especially if the vehicles are traveling at high speeds. Minimizing distractions while behind the wheel increases your chances of avoiding an auto accident. If you really need to answer a text, have a passenger handle this task for you while you remain focused on the road.
What to Do When a Car Accident Happens
Unfortunately, even safe drivers may find themselves involved and injured in a car accident. The scene can be chaotic and disorienting, so it’s important to understand what steps to take to support your recovery and maximize your settlement offer. Below are some actions to take in the event of a car accident in southwest Washington.
Seek Medical Attention
First, assess yourself and others at the scene for injuries. Call an ambulance if anyone requires immediate medical care. However, even if you do not think your injuries warrant a hospital visit, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor within the next few days for an evaluation of your injuries. Your doctor can look for any harder-to-detect injuries, like concussions or internal bleeding. What’s more, you can use the documentation of your injuries to strengthen your auto accident claim later on, demonstrating how you took your injuries seriously and how they impacted your quality of life.
Contact Local Law Enforcement
Accidents that involve injuries should be reported to local law enforcement. The responding officer will arrive at the scene and compile a police report that details the circumstances of the incident and includes statements from the involved parties. When you proceed with your accident claim, you can include a copy of the police report to strengthen your claim and show that the other driver caused the accident.
Enlist the Support of a Trusted Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer
Although Washington state does not require injured parties to retain an attorney to file an accident claim, doing so is highly recommended. Coping with your physical recovery is overwhelming and stressful enough—the last thing you want to think about is negotiating a settlement with insurance adjusters who will attempt to pay you as little as possible to save their companies money. Instead, let your attorney handle these negotiations and pursue a fair and favorable settlement on your behalf. Your lawyer will support you through every aspect of this process, answering your questions and addressing your concerns at every turn.
If you need help pursuing an auto accident claim in Vancouver or Portland, call Henderson Taylor Law Firm today at (360) 737-1478 to speak with a dedicated and compassionate attorney.