Winter weather in Oregon can make local roads treacherous. Snow, freezing rain, and icy roads pose serious hazards while driving and increase the risk of car accidents in Oregon. With plenty of adverse weather waiting in the months ahead, our Oregon car accident lawyer wants you to be aware of what causes crashes to spike during the winter months, as well as ways to protect yourself and your loved ones and what to do if a crash happens while on the road.
Winter Weather Wreaks Havoc On The Roads
Car accidents in Oregon can happen at any time of the year but are particularly common during the winter months. While reckless behavior on the part of other motorists is often the primary cause, winter weather conditions wreak havoc on local roads and make collisions more likely to occur.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that of the close to six million car accidents that happen throughout the United States each year, adverse weather is a factor in more than 20 percent. Unfortunately, snow, freezing rain, and icy road conditions common in Oregon at this time of year pose major risks for motorists. Weather-related impacts that increase crash risks include:
- Reduced tire traction, making it more difficult to control the vehicle;
- Reduced braking ability, making it more difficult to stop;
- Decreased vision, making it harder to see other motorists, traffic signs, and the road;
- Increased risks of skidding, which could result in collisions with drivers in other lanes.
Be aware that any amount of snow or rain on the roads poses risks. Particularly on overpasses, bridges, and anywhere traffic tends to be heavy, the risks increase so use extra caution. Our Oregon car accident lawyer explains additional ways to protect yourself and your passengers.
Protecting Yourself Against Weather-Related Car Accidents
According to the state Department of Transportation (ODOT), over 36,000 people suffer personal injuries due to car accidents in Oregon each year. Winter is one of the most common times for these crashes to happen.
You cannot control other motorists or prevent them from engaging in behavior that could easily put you at risk. However, you can control how you approach driving during the winter season. The following steps can help to protect yourself and potentially avoid winter weather-related crashes and collisions in Oregon:
- Make sure your vehicle is in good working order: Get your car checked by a mechanic, make needed repairs, and monitor issues such as tire pressure. This helps reduce the risks of breakdowns, which increase crash risks.
- Check road conditions before hitting the road: Whether you are going across town or on an extended trip, knowing what to expect in terms of weather helps to reduce Oregon car accident risks. If a major storm is in the forecast, avoid driving if possible.
- Avoid dangerous driving behavior: Avoid speeding, tailgating, and cutting drivers off when passing. Not reducing your speed or failing to give extra space to other motorists increases the odds of a collision.
- Pay attention: Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel at all times. Looking away for even a second could cause you to miss warning signs of an impending crash.
In general, be safe, drive with consideration for other motorists, and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
When A Weather-Related Car Accident in Oregon Happens
Despite taking all reasonable precautions, car accidents in Oregon can still happen and are common during the winter months. In the event you or a loved one is involved in a crash, it is important to take certain steps in the immediate aftermath. These can help to protect your health and your rights in filing a personal injury claim:
- Notify the police immediately.
- Make sure an accident report is filed and request a copy.
- Exchange vehicle, insurance, and contact information with other drivers.
- Take photos of the scene and get the names of witnesses, which provide important evidence for your claim.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, regardless of the severity of your injuries.
- Follow all your doctor’s instructions regarding medical care and activity restrictions.
- Speak with our Oregon car accident lawyer before making statements to insurers or accepting any settlements.
Contact Our Oregon Car Accident Lawyer Today
Winter weather increases the risk of car accidents in Oregon. At Johnston Law Firm, we help you get the compensation you are entitled to in a claim. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Oregon car accident lawyer online and request a consultation today.