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Winter weather brings driving hazards

Winter is fast approaching, and Pennsylvania drivers will soon be faced with ice and snow on area roads. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 22 percent of all U.S. traffic accidents are the result of winter weather. However, by taking a few safety precautions, drivers can reduce their risk of being involved in a winter-related crash.

In Pennsylvania, it is common to encounter heavy snow, ice and black ice, which can all cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. In order to maximize safety in these dangerous conditions, safety experts suggest that drivers winterize their vehicles before bad weather hits. This includes checking that a vehicle's brakes, heater, lights and battery are all working properly. Wiper blades should be replaced, and tires should be checked for proper tread and air pressure. Experts also recommend getting an oil change to ensure the engine can handle freezing temperatures.

Once motorists hit the road, they should be cautious and slow down the moment wintery weather appears. Under slippery conditions, drivers should keep extra space between their car and the car in front of them. If a stop is required, drivers should pump their brakes to reduce the chances of a spin out. Motorists should also use their headlights when driving in snow and always carry a fully charged cell phone with them in case of an emergency.

Winter car accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries that require extended periods of recovery time. In some cases, a victim can be left permanently disabled and unable to work. If the accident was caused by another driver, an injured victim might need to sue the at-fault driver for damages. These damages may include current and future medical expenses, lost income, mental anguish and property loss.

Source: Esurance, "Dangers of Winter Driving," Nov. 19, 2017

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