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Tips for Safe Driving on Snow and Ice

The Schmidt Salita Law Team has collectively 70 years experience in successfully handling personal injury claims for victims of car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other motor vehicle collision.  They have a long history of dealing with the hazards of Minnesota winters-ice and snow covered highways, and the accidents that happen more frequently in conditions of snow and ice covered roadways.

Published statistics confirm what the Schmidt Salita Law Team has known for many years-many more motor vehicle collisions occur on snowy, icy or covered icy pavement.  Collisions on snow and ice covered streets, roads, and highways amount to 24% of all weather related motor vehicle collisions. It is estimated that 15% these events actually happen during the actual snowfall.

Periods of snowfall increase the dangers of driving because of visibility impairments, high winds, reduced vehicle performance and reduced traffic speeds, causing a significant increase in rear end collisions, as well as accidents due to loss of control.

The Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, and Wrongful death attorneys at the Schmidt Salita Law Team, formerly Schmidt Law Firm are experienced in bringing justice to the victims of personal injury and wrongful death due to all motor vehicle collisions, especially those occurring during bad weather conditions. They have over 75 combined years’ experience, collectively, with motor vehicle collisions in the snowy wintery conditions that frequent the State of Minnesota.

The Schmidt Salita Law Team offers to you the following recommendations for improved safe driving in ice and snow conditions:

1. Stay Home When It Snows: The best safety advice for avoiding a car crash in snowy, or icy conditions is the simplest and most logical one. Just stay off the roads. If you are safe and sound at home, you cannot be injured in a car accident!!!

2. Remain in Control: The next best safety tip is to keep your own car in control and engage in basic defensive driving techniques. Maintain an extra distance between your vehicle and the one ahead to account for the increased stopping and braking distances caused by accumulations of ice and snow on the roadway.

3. Reduce Your Speed: The third best safety tip is to reduce your speed.

4. Know How to Survive a Skid: The best way to survive a skid on a snowy road is to avoid getting in one. If you do encounter a skid, it is important to know how to properly react-and that is not easy. In the face of a front-tire skid, it is recommended you smoothly release the accelerator and simply allow the car to slow down. Turning the steering wheel more or pushing the brake pedal does nothing good and may cause harm if the traction suddenly returns.

5. Protect Against Tailgating: The best way to protect yourself against the bad driving of the car behind you is to maintain extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. Then, when you need to slow down, reduce your speed before closing the gap between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead, carefully watching to see if the car behind is properly slowing. By slowing gradually, you can best protect yourself from a rear-end collision.

6. Have Good Tires: For starters, be sure that you have adequate tire tread. Consider special winter tires on all 4 wheels.

7. Maintain Good Visibility: It is extra important that you have good visibility during a snowstorm. If you can’t remember when you replaced your windshield wipers, it’s past time for renewal. Those who expect to meet serious snow should fit wiper blades designed for winter driving. Clean the inside of your windows thoroughly. Apply a water-shedding material (such as Rain-X) to the outside. Make sure your windshield washer system works and is full of an anti-icing fluid. Run the air-conditioner on the “fresh air” option, even if you must use the “hot” setting, to remove condensation and frost from the interior of windows. Many cars automatically do this when you choose the defrost setting.

8. Use Your Lights: It is recommended that all drivers activate the headlights on their vehicle during all periods of reduced visibility. Be sure to use your emergency flashers whenever you are placed at risk. This is especially true when the vehicle behind is “tailgating.” When driving, use your headlights even at midday so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are clean and clear of ice and snow as the efficiency of headlights can be reduced by as much as 90% by accumulations.

9. Carry Survival Equipment: Regardless of your driving skill or vehicle preparation, there are some winter conditions that can’t be conquered. That’s why you should carry a sleeping bag or blanket in your car during the winter. Also add a bag of sand or sand, a flashlight with batteries, a cell phone charger, non-perishable snacks, and a first aid kit.

Improving your own safe driving skills can reduce the odds of avoiding a traffic collision in bad weather conditions. However, if you have been the victim of the negligent or careless driving of another person, you may wish to take advantage of the free consultation with a lawyer offered by the Schmidt Salita Law Team to advise you as to your rights under both Minnesota’s No Fault system and Minnesota’s At Fault system. They can help you understand your rights to No Fault benefits, including medical coverage, wage loss benefits, and replacement services. They can help you to understand your rights to collect against the liability coverage of the at fault driver and against the UIM (underinsured motorist) coverage and UM (uninsured motorist) coverage on your own policy. In the event is that you were injured in a motor vehicle collision while in the course and scope of your employment, the Schmidt Salita Law Team can help you to understand your rights under Minnesota’s Workers’ Compensation laws.

The Schmidt Salita Law Team provides legal services throughout the State of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as the suburbs of Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Edina, Bloomington, Shakopee, Savage, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Osseo, Anoka, Elk River and other surrounding areas.