Prevent Indiana Car Accidents With Safe Winter Driving

A four-car pile-up just after dusk in central Indiana resulted in the death of a 68-year-old beloved city clerk-treasurer, whom witnesses say was traveling at a high rate of speed when she braked suddenly, causing a chain reaction. snowcoveredcars.jpg

Our Highland car accident attorneys recognize this incident as a stark reminder that everyone needs to practice safe driving habits, especially as we round out the last several weeks of winter and particularly at night.

A recent snowstorm has had numerous agencies across the state reporting people sliding off the roads, many of which are caked with at least some amount of fresh, slick snow or slippery ice.

In fact, the weather was blamed in at least three serious accidents in a single day recently, including a fatal crash on I-70 near Cloverdale, just outside of Indianapolis. There was also a semi-truck accident on Indiana 37 that prompted the highway to be shut down for several hours.

Dozens of counties were under a state-issued travel advisory, and a handful were even under watches and warnings.

Travel advisories are issued by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and they can be an invaluable resource for motorists who are planning to head out. Especially during the winter, it would behoove you to check with the agency by visiting http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/, just to see what kind of weather you will be dealing with. If it’s bad enough, you may want to skip your trip altogether, if possible.

There are three levels of advisories in Indiana. Those are:

  • Advisory – The lowest-level of local travel advisory, which means that your routine activities or travel in certain areas could be restricted due to perilous conditions. Use caution.
  • Watch – This means there is some condition that is a threat to public safety and that only essential travel (to and from work, emergency situations) should be carried out.
  • Warning – This is the highest level of travel advisory, wherein travel may be restricted to emergency personnel. During a warning, individuals should refrain from all travel, comply with necessary emergency measures, cooperate with and obey public officials.

Even if you check on the advisory in your location and still choose to head out, it’s important to expect the unexpected. Weather, of course, can change at a moment’s notice, and winter weather can be particularly hazardous.

You want to make sure your car is “winterized,” (check all ignition, brakes and wiring, antifreeze levels, tires, batteries, make sure you have spare tire, jumper cables, bag of salt or cat litter, tow and tire chains, shovel, etc.).

After that, the main thing to keep in mind is your speed. In snowy and icy conditions, you need to give yourself more reaction time, which means you need to slow down considerably. Give yourself about three times more space than you otherwise would between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Go easy on your brakes. That is, slamming them on will likely cause you to spin out of control in snow or on ice. Don’t use cruise control in those conditions and pay particular attention on bridges or overpasses, as these areas will freeze first and may catch you off-guard if you aren’t careful.

Highland Injury Attorney Burton A. Padove represents accident victims throughout Northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.

Additional Resources:
Woman dies after 4-car crash, March 1, 2013, By Emily Campion, Journal Courier Online
More Blog Entries:
Teen Driving Fatalities: Indiana is No. 1, Feb. 28, 2013, Highland Personal Injury Lawyer Blog