Last month, our area’s first measureable snowstorm of the winter brought some all-too-familiar words of advice from the Idaho State Police (ISP): slow down. Regardless of how many times that warning is repeated, however, some drivers just don’t seem to get the message. During the morning commute that day, state and local police responded to nearly 120 wrecks and slide-offs across the Treasure Valley region.
That crash total wasn’t the result of a major blizzard but of snow that only amounted to about one-quarter of an inch across most of the region. Even that small amount of snow can make a road extremely slippery, and when drivers don’t take precautions they can get into trouble quickly.
The key problem, according to the ISP, is speed. Drivers should remain aware that even though the posted speed limit might say one thing, that posted limit applies to good weather and road conditions. It’s up to the driver to adjust speed based on what is safe at a particular moment. This responsibility is actually part of state traffic law: A motor vehicle operator who drives faster than is safe for the conditions can face a ticket with a $90 fine if caught.
Drivers are also urged to allow more distance between their car and other vehicles because stopping on slippery roads can take more time. Extra caution should be taken when changing lanes, as well (and drivers who cause a crash because they didn’t stay in their lane or struck another vehicle during a lane change can also face a $90 fine).
You might feel that you’re doing everything you can to drive safely, but even then you shouldn’t let your guard down. Drive defensively because you can’t always count on other drivers to operate safely. There’s always someone who feels that the rules of physics don’t apply to his or her vehicle, or who maybe just isn’t paying close enough attention to the conditions.
As one trooper pointed out, even those with four-wheel drive need to use care under snowy conditions. Four-wheel drive will get a vehicle going better in the snow and might help with steering, but it can have little effect at other times. “When it comes to braking, it’s all the same.”
That dangerous day was near the start of the month, but by the end, the situation hadn’t improved much. More snow combined with temperature fluctuations that worsened icy conditions led to more than twenty crashes just within the Kuna city limits in a single week.
That same week, Ada County saw another morning commute with more than eighty crashes and slide-offs. A police deputy in Kuna expressed his thoughts on the cause: “100 percent of the crashes, in one way or another, you can attribute them to speed.”
Winter conditions are no excuse for crashes due to irresponsible driving. If you find yourself in an auto accident caused by another driver, turn to someone who can help you understand your rights and who’ll work hard to make sure you receive proper compensation for any injuries and property damage caused.
Craig Swapp & Associates has extensive experience with all areas of automobile accident law. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, contact us online through the form on this page or call us at 1-800-404-9000. You can also get quick answers to many of your questions by opening a LiveChat from any page of this website.