As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, the driving conditions in Ohio also become more dangerous. The threat of black ice and slippery roads could be a lethal combination. This year already, more than 45,000 traffic accidents have been investigated in the state. Moreover, there have been more than 8,000 distracted driving violations.
Now that the seasons have changed, you need to make sure that you keep yourself and your loved ones safe. The lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick share their expert advice on how to drive well, avoid accidents, and be conscientious.
Tips For Driving Safely in Ohio Winter
Ohio winters are notoriously cold, presenting a multitude of problems for drivers. Ensuring that you stay safe as driving conditions worsen in the coming months is essential. Fortunately, the lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick have some handy advice to help you do just that. Before you put your key in the ignition, make sure that you have heeded the following tips:
- Avoid Unnecessary Driving
First of all, question whether you need to go out to drive. If the journey you are taking is unnecessary, you may want to avoid the risks that the cold weather presents. Only drive when you need to. For example, you may have to take a trip to the store to stock up on groceries or visit a loved one to give them some support during the winter.
- Check Your Tire Pressure
Before jumping into the driver’s seat, take a quick moment to check your tire pressure. Poorly inflated tires could mean that you’re more likely to lose control on icy roads. That’s not a risk that you want to take. Check the pressure of your tires and, if it seems low, add some air to them. It’s always a smart move to keep them inflated.
- Keep Your Gas Tank at Least Half Full
The last thing you want is to get stranded in icy conditions. When you’re planning on going out for a drive, make sure that you have at least a half-full gas tank. If you are running low, ensure that the first stop on your journey is a gas station where you can fuel up quickly.
- Always Wear Your Seatbelt
It should go without saying that you need to wear a seatbelt when you are driving. Of course, this is all the more important when weather conditions are harsh. Since ice can lead to a higher risk of road accidents, you need to protect yourself at all times.
- Drive Slowly and Carefully
When you’re on the open road, ensure that you’re driving both slowly and carefully. If the weather is particularly icy, it’s advisable to drive slower than the general speed limit. That way, you are less likely to lose control of your vehicle as a result of black ice on the road. You should know that speed limits are designed for good weather, not cold conditions.
- Avoid Distractions on the Road
Any time you drive, you should ensure that you avoid distractions. However, this crucial advice is even more important when the conditions outside are icy. Avoid the temptation to allow your mind to wander, fiddle with your hair, or even eat when you’re driving. Your eyes and attention need to be on the road at all times. It only takes a split second to miss something important and cause an unnecessary accident.
- Never Use Cruise Control
While it may be safe to use cruise control in regular weather conditions, you should think twice when it is cold outside. Should you run into black ice on the road while using cruise control, you may not be able to halt your vehicle or prevent an accident. For that reason, the experts at Kisling, Nestico & Redick suggest that you not use cruise control in icy weather.
- Keep Your Steering Wheel Steady
When you are driving, take measures to keep your steering wheel steady at all times. That may mean that you concentrate more when you are driving. You should also ensure that your hands are in the right position and that you focus on the road.
- Turn on Your Headlights
The winter months are cold and dark. For that reason, you should always turn your headlights on when you’re driving during this season. Doing so will mean that you are more likely to spot black ice on the road. What’s more, having your headlights on will help you see oncoming traffic and any other obstacles that may be ahead of you.
- Avoid Over-Correcting If You Start to Slide
If you start sliding on black ice, it can be extremely scary. You will worry that you’re going to lose control of the vehicle completely. That’s why your gut instinct may be to over-correct your steering. However, doing so can lead to a higher risk of a road accident.
- Never Slam on the Brakes
Similarly, should you see black ice or start to slide, you may be tempted to slam on your brakes and stop the vehicle as soon as you can. Doing so could mean that you stop unsteadily or slide quicker than before. Avoid making this serious mistake.
Who Is Liable in Black Ice Accidents?
Black ice is a clear type of ice that freezes on top of a dark surface, such as an asphalt road. The danger of black ice is that drivers cannot see it, so they may drive onto it unknowingly.
Since black ice is extremely slippery, it can often cause drivers to lose control of their cars, which may lead to accidents. If you have ever driven across this type of ice and felt how unstable it is, you may be wondering who is liable in black ice accidents.
When you file a claim with your insurance company for a black ice accident, they will determine whether you caused the accident or not. In some cases, when another vehicle is involved, they may decide that the other driver is culpable. Should the accident not be a result of another driver’s negligence, you will be liable for it. Insurance companies believe that drivers should be able to control their vehicles in all weather conditions. Come rain, shine, or ice, you should be safe when driving your vehicle. If the conditions look dangerous, you have a responsibility to pull off of the road and wait until it is safe to drive again.
With that in mind, any accident that takes place due to black ice is your fault in the eyes of an insurer. If you want to appeal your insurance company’s decision, you will need to state that the black ice accident was another driver’s fault. For instance, if another driver was speeding, this may have caused you to move onto the black ice to avoid a collision. Keep in mind that it will be helpful to have a witness confirm your statement.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Involved in an Accident?
If you have been involved in a road accident, it’s important to get some expert help. Contacting an Ohio car accident lawyer at Kisling, Nestico & Redick is the first part of this process. An expert will be able to give you the advice you need and determine whether you are liable or whether another driver may be held accountable.
The team has a wealth of knowledge of Ohio law and the insurance processes. That means that they can ensure that the claim is filed properly. The team members fight hard for their clients’ rights, which means that you can move swiftly forward with your claim. The sooner you take the first step, the sooner you can start getting what you deserve.
About Kisling, Nestico & Redick
Providing representation to clients throughout Ohio, Kisling, Nestico & Redick is one of the leading personal injury law firms in the state. Armed with inside knowledge of the insurance industry and a remarkable reputation, the team of lawyers can provide extensive legal help and advice to suit your specific circumstances.
The KNR team participates in a variety of charitable events throughout the year. Recent efforts include donating blood to the Red Cross, taking part in the Andrea Rose Teodosio Memorial Race, sponsoring the Younglife of the Western Reserve Golf Tournament, and even encouraging voting efforts earlier this month.