Is Limited Use of Road Salt Contributing to Accidents?

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Is Limited Use of Road Salt Contributing to Icy Traffic Accidents?

On average, there are nearly 500 fatalities each year due to icy road accidents in the United States. Michigan has already seen major collisions related to ice, including the 40-car pileup on I-96 last week. Variables in the ice-related accidents can vary, with some involving other vehicles and others occurring as single-car accidents. Slippery conditions raise the odds a vehicle will slide and hit another object, which can be incredibly dangerous, especially if there is some speed involved.

Icy roads are deadly, and black ice makes matters worse by proving nearly impossible to see. When black ice covers pavement, it can make the road look clear. Those experienced with black ice know exactly how dangerous it really is. Many car and semi-truck accidents have occurred when the driver misjudged the state of black ice on the roadway ahead. Icy roads can occur in combination wit a number of types of weather that can further complicate navigating the roadways, including snow, sleet, rain/freezing rain, low floodwaters, hail, and fog.

In Michigan, residents have long come to rely upon the use of road salt to keep roads safe during winter weather. Some are finding that this year, their communities are less likely to prepare the roads for a big storm by using road salt to prepare the roads. There is also concern about whether or not enough road salt is being used often enough to prevent unnecessary accidents. It’s a fair question, especially given the number of deadly vehicle accidents already attributed to icy conditions across the state over the past couple of weeks.

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

The fact of the matter is you can’t rely on others to keep you safe during wintry, icy weather. There are, however, some steps you can take to reduce the odds you will be involved in an accident in icy conditions.

  • Stay home if you can. Some things really just aren’t that important, and risking your life is not your best bet. If you don’t HAVE to venture out, don’t.
  • If you do have to drive in icy conditions, drive slowly. Speed is a major factor in icy road accidents. When you drive slowly, you can handle your car better and manage any sliding or drifting your vehicle might do on the ice.
  • Know the weather report before you head out! If you already know it’s icy, be sure you aren’t driving out into ice plus dangerous weather. If a storm is coming, stay home.
  • Braking on the ice, especially abruptly, will only make the odds of an accident worse. If you must brake, do so lightly, and give yourself plenty of time to stop.
  • Always travel with emergency supplies in your vehicle. If you get stranded in a snow bank or on the side of an icy road, you’ll be glad to have things like water, snacks, blankets, a car maintenance kit, and other cold weather items with you.

If you are in a winter road accident, the car accident attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm can help you navigate the process of filing a claim to recover damages that can help put you back on your feet. Call us today for a FREE consultation: 1-800-LEE-FREE.