Something of a New Year’s miracle occurred on a 40-mile stretch of I-95 between Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the Capital Beltway outside of Washington, DC. It turns out that none of the hundreds (or possibly thousands) of drivers and passengers who were stranded for more than 24 hours in the aftermath of a disastrous snowstorm on January 3 were injured.
Consider for a moment…hundreds and hundreds of vehicles at a standstill on one of the busiest highways in the country, trapped inside their cars and trucks in freezing temperatures, with only whatever food or water they had with them for their drive. The only warmth came from the vents in their vehicles–which obviously couldn’t stay running for all that time–or any blankets or extra clothing that happened to be in the car. There were pets, seniors, people with medical conditions, and young children in these cars–and no one knew when the ordeal would come to an end.
Despite all the tragic consequences that could have arisen from this traffic nightmare, everyone managed to make it through unscathed, though more than likely exhausted, stressed, cranky, hungry, thirsty, and with a pretty amazing story to tell. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as these brave souls.
Starting the New Year on a Tragic Note
On January 4, a woman was critically injured in a single-car crash on Southern Avenue SE in the District. On the same street, just a few days earlier, a driver was taken to a local hospital in serious condition after their vehicle struck a pole, leaving the driver trapped in the car. In Montgomery County, Maryland, three people were killed when an SUV collided with a snowplow on Columbia Pike on January 3. Another person was hospitalized in critical condition. Only about a week earlier, on Christmas Eve, Washington Football Team safety and special teams player Deshazor Everett lost control of his vehicle in Loudoun County, causing it to hit several trees and then roll over–the passenger in the vehicle, a 29-year-old woman, died from her injuries at a local hospital.
This is not an encouraging start to 2022 (nor a happy end to 2021)–already multiple serious accidents, all within a few days, all within the same general area. And with the winter weather really just beginning after a pretty mild December, we’re likely to hear more and more of these tragic stories.
Vehicle Accidents in Winter Weather
Assuming Mother Nature delivers us more snow and ice over the next couple of months, most of us will likely be faced with having to drive in less-than-ideal conditions. Ice, snow, and slush make roadways treacherous and dangerous, and this type of weather always causes an uptick in accidents. But there are some precautions you can take if you have to drive in wintry weather.
- Check your tires often and make sure they’re properly inflated and have plenty of tread. Balding or semi-inflated tires are going to cause major problems.
- Take it slow. Snow or ice means less traction, so stopping and starting will take longer.
- Ease into acceleration and braking. Sudden starts and stops will cause your tires to spin.
- Maintain a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you. AAA recommends five or six seconds of following distance.
- If it’s possible, try not to stop completely. If you’re approaching a STOP sign or traffic light, take your foot off the gas and try to keep your car rolling just enough so you don’t slide from braking or spin your wheels when re-accelerating.
- Never use cruise control in snow or ice.
- Stay home if you can. Many of us are able to work at home, and it’s best to avoid driving in wintry weather altogether, if possible.
Watch the forecast. If ice and snow look like real possibilities, stay off the roads if you can. That’s the best way to avoid an accident.
Car Accident Injuries – And How A DMV Attorney Can Help
If you do happen to find yourself in a car accident in the DMV, there are a few things you should (and should not) do. 1) Get medical attention at the scene. 2) Gather whatever kind of evidence you’re able to gather safely (photos, contact info for those who can provide eyewitness accounts). 3) Call the police and get a report. 4) Do NOT call any insurance company – other than your own 5) Call the expert car accident attorneys at The Lapidus Law Firm.
Our seasoned attorneys have been litigating auto accidents for decades, and if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, we will do all we can to get you a fair, reasonable settlement to cover any necessary expenses, including medical, vehicle, lost wages, and others. Call The Lapidus Law Firm at (202) 785-5111 or (301) 852-7500 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Remember, we are committed to making justice work for you.
Written by DMV Car Accident Injury Lawyer Larry Lapidus