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Winter driving tips: avoiding and recovering from accidents

Driving during the summer in Minnesota results in the deadliest statistics, but driving during the winter poses its own risks and hazards and leads to the most crashes. Why? Because, at some point, we know that it will snow and temperatures will fall below zero. There will be ice on the roads and high winds trying to push you off the roads.

Deadly Monday

This has proven especially true this year. Four crashes on due to wintry conditions occurred on Monday, December 2, 2013. "These crashes are tragic reminders that we need to be especially cautious when driving during winter weather," commented Lt. Eric Roeske, Minnesota State Patrol. "With more winter weather on the way, we need everyone to drive at safe speeds and provide for plenty of travel time as road conditions can change in an instant."

In 2012, there were 5,688 snow- and ice-related crashes on Minnesota road, resulting in 28 deaths and 3,109 injuries.

Tips

The Office of Traffic Safety has recently put together the following tips:

  • Buckle up, and securely tighten child restraints.
  • Clear snow and ice from windows, hood, headlights, and brake lights and signals.
  • Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions.
  • Turn on headlights when it is snowing or sleeting.
  • Do not use cruise control in snow, ice, or rain conditions.
  • Equip your vehicle with jumper cables, scraper/brush, shovel, tow chain, and a bag of sand or kitty litter for tire traction.
  • If you start to skid, do not panic, slow down by removing your foot from the gas-not by using the brake-and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
  • If stranded, stay in the vehicle.

Motor accidents

What happens when, despite taking all the above precautions, you are involved in a winter motor vehicle accident? If this happens, there are a number of issues to consider, including:

  • Who is at fault (that is, who was negligent or careless)? Minnesota is a comparative fault state, that is, as long as your fault is less than or equal to the fault of the other driver, you can recover damages.
  • Are there damages (medical and/or property)?
  • Is there a statute of limitations? Minnesota has a statute of limitations of six years, that is, a claim must be filed within six years of the date of the accident.

A lawyer who focuses on motor vehicle accidents will be an excellent resource to answer the above questions.

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