Authorities are blaming the slush for causing a man to cross over the center line of a busy New Jersey road and hitting another car head-on. Police say that a driver of the vehicle going the correct way died at the scene. The wreck happened on eastbound Black Horse Pike near the Star Motel around 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. 2019.
The other driver was taken to the hospital and is listed in critical condition. Police say that the crash is still under investigation and are asking anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information to call the Monroe Police Dept. at (732) 521-0222.
Winter Road Crashes
When roads are slick, accidents happen, and roads are often slick in the winter because of snow, ice and slush. The Federal Highway Administration says that each year there are over 500,000 crashes in the U.S. because of snowy, icy or slushy roads. There are also nearly 140,000 injures and almost 2,000 fatalities. The common denominator in all of these crashes is the speed of the vehicle for the conditions of the road.
In all adverse road conditions, whatever speed you are going when the danger present will greatly determine whether you get in a crash. The faster you are going, the less likely you will be able to stop. However, there are different dynamics for different road conditions.
Snow and sleet are dangerous if they start accumulating on the roadway. If the snow is thick, over several inches, then traction becomes difficult even on level roads. A tire will get some traction in the snow, but the weight of the car compact the snow in the road causing extremely slick conditions.
Unlike ice driving where the driver is immediately aware that they don’t have control, snow drivers are often fooled that they have traction right up until they don’t. Going up a slight hill, a sharp turn or coming to stop at a stop sign can all make the driver aware that they don’t have full control of the vehicle. Each year, there are 210,000 snow crashes resulting in 56,000 people injured and around 740 people killed.
Slush is basically wet semi-melted snow. This happens often when it snows with significant accumulation and then the snow begins melting due to rising temperatures. Slushy roads have their own characteristics as they driver will get really good traction so long as the car’s tires displace the slush and meet the pavement.
However, once enough speed is accumulated or the driver hits a thick patch of slush, then the car can do a “slush” hydroplane and spin out of control. Each year, around 175,000 crashes happen in the slush with 41,000 people getting injured and 538 people are killed.
Ice is by far the most treacherous road condition drivers face. If the ice is thick enough, only cars with winter tires can get traction. However, in most cases, the whole road is rarely a thick sheet of ice, rather the ice is thick in come places, thin or nonexistent in others.
This creates a false sense of security for the driver who quickly realizes that there is no traction when just a few moments ago, everything was fine. Ice can be hidden as well. Whereas snow, sleet and slush are easy to spot, ice can be obscured and look like water or the road can look dry and ice free but has spots of black ice. Then when the driver turns a corner, goes over a bridge or just hits a patch of hidden ice, he or she can lose control of the vehicle.
Safety Tips for Driving in Snow/Sleet/Slush/Ice
The first five tips should be SLOW down. Remember, the moment you see the danger you in, you are stuck with whatever speed you have making it difficult to reduce speed because of the slick road. Stopping times and distances can be well over double depending on conditions and original speed.
Here are some safe-driving tips for winter roads according to the American Automobile Association:
- Stay home. Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
- Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Increase your following distanceto five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
- Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
What do I do if I’m in a Winter Road Accident?
The first thing to do is to get safe. This can be difficult as you might not know whether to stay in your vehicle or get out. If there is a chance of more cars coming and hitting you or your vehicle , then the best thing is to stay in your car as you are more protected by your damaged car than when walking around.
Also, many times people standing next to their cars are hit because people coming up will veer to miss the car but don’t see the people around the car.
After making sure you are safe, the next thing is to take care of your injuries. However, sooner or later, you will be faced with dealing with the financial losses, so the best thing to do is to talk to an attorney. If the insurance company wants to talk, don’t. Not until you speak to a professional that can give you good advice and evaluate your case.
Call a Snow and Ice Attorney Today
You need someone who knows the law and is experienced in personal injury cases caused by snow, ice, sleet and slush. Call a Snow and Ice Attorney at the Pearce Law Firm, P.C. They will talk to about your specific circumstances and then work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Call the Pearce Law Firm, P.C. at (215) 557-8686 or text at (215) 880 6164. You can also send them a message online by clicking here.