Now that summer is officially behind us, we can focus on the pleasures of autumn. At the same time, we should begin preparing for winter weather, because many forecasters are predicting a brutal winter. For more information on the most perilous winter driving hazards, please read on, then contact an experienced Stamford, Connecticut auto accident lawyer. Some of the most dangerous winter driving hazards in Connecticut include:
Ice on the road
Because it can be hard to see and can cause total loss of control of your vehicle, ice remains the foremost winter driving hazard. Rain, melted snow and other sources of water can make the road surface wet and turn that moisture to ice when the surface temperature falls below freezing. Even as air temperatures rise above freezing, ice can remain on the road. Both surface ice and black ice can prevent your tires from getting a good grip on the road, making it more difficult to steer and stop.
While drivers most often consider visibility during a snowstorm or when passing cars kick up snow or ice, snow or ice buildup on your windshield and outside mirrors can occur at any point during the winter. It does not take much to reduce your line of sight to unsafe levels, especially if your heater or rear window defroster do not function properly.
Low tire tread and pressure
Cold air reduces the air pressure in your tires, meaning that tires properly inflated during warmer months may not have enough PSI during winter. Worn tire treads present enough hazards during the summer, but they become much more dangerous on roads covered with snow or ice. Those living in the Northeastern United States should consider switching to snow tires if possible.
Cold weather makes it more difficult for batteries to provide enough charge to get car engines started. The colder the temperature, the more charge it takes. Being stuck out in the cold can lead to multiple adverse health conditions, including:
- Aggravated respiratory illnesses such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema
- Worsened cardiovascular illnesses
Salt on the road
While salt proves effective at removing snow and ice from road surfaces, its corrosive properties can damage the exterior of your car, including the undercarriage. It does not take long for salt to eat through the paint and start oxidizing the underlying metal. Nonetheless, we count on state and municipal agencies to prepare roads for hazardous winter conditions by using salt and salt brine on the roads to prevent ice from bonding to the pavement.
Who can you sue for winter driving hazards?
Claims arising from winter-related hazardous conditions can be very challenging. These claims are governed by the state or municipal “defective highway” statutes that also include sidewalk defects. To qualify for a defective highway claim, the defect must be the “sole proximate cause” of the accident/injury. This generally requires that the agency must have had adequate notice of the defect and an opportunity to remedy the defect, and the party making a claim must be free from negligence. It is also mandatory that notice of the claim be served upon the responsible entity within ninety (90) days of the injury.
Before you bring forward a lawsuit, you should speak with a skilled Fairfield County, Connecticut personal injury lawyer first.
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