Personal Injury Blog

Heavy Snow Increases Motor Vehicle Accidents

As snow and ice piled up throughout New Jersey, motorists had to take necessary precautions

While the winter season of 2016-2017 appeared to be relatively mild overall, the past two months have proven that it only takes one or two solid blizzards to drastically impact travel conditions. Most recently, winter storm Stella brought more than two feet of snow to parts of the Northeast. Northern New Jersey and New York were also hit hard. Governors of both states declared states of emergency in response to the likelihood of weather-related problems. Road travel was banned for all non-emergency personnel in Connecticut. These types of actions illustrate just how serious winter weather can be and highlight the need for additional precautions.

Road conditions are known to deteriorate rapidly as a winter storm approaches. Snowfall may start out with mere flurries but in a matter of minutes, blizzard-like conditions can manifest. White-out snowfall and black ice can make driving at any speed a dangerous task. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), winter weather plays a significant role in overall weather-related crashes. Statistics show that of all weather-related accidents 17% are due to snow or sleet, 14% occur on snowy or slushy roads and 13% on icy roadways.

During severe winter weather, motorists are often encouraged to stay off the roads if at all possible. Snow plows, salt trucks and emergency personnel need unfettered access to roadways to do their jobs. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to take these warnings seriously and continue to travel. If you must travel during or after heavy snowfall, it is important to take additional safety precautions to prevent accidents. Most winter weather-related motor vehicle accidents are caused by:

  • Speeding
  • Reduced visibility
  • Debris in the roadway
  • Unplowed or unsalted roads
  • Frozen bridges

Typically, public transportation is also impacted by winter weather. Buses, trains and subways may be forced to reduce or stop service during a storm because of the threat of snow and ice on roadways and train tracks. Train derailments have been linked to winter weather and often cause serious injuries and deaths. Airlines are often forced to cancel flights due to snow and ice. All of these factors contribute to an increase in the number of automobile accidents that occur during wintery weather. It is vital that all travelers pay attention to travel warnings and take extra care to prevent accidents when travel is unavoidable. If you or a loved one has been injured in a winter weather-related accident, contact the respected New Jersey personal injury attorneys at the Leonard Legal Group by phone at (973) 984-1414 or online.