While South Carolina isn’t traditionally known for the amount of snow it gets, the large snowstorm that happened in the winter of 2018 showed residents just how important it is to be prepared for driving in ice and snow. The snowstorm that caused more than 650 accidents, three fatal crashes and at least 20 minor injuries contributed to the 21% of auto accidents each year that are weather-related. Snow and ice on the roadway can certainly present a variety of dangers for drivers who aren’t prepared, which is why it’s important to understand the risks in order to prevent them and any subsequent legal issues regarding who is at fault.
Get Your Car Ready for Winter
The onset of winter is actually a great time to give your car a checkup in general. Ensure the battery is functioning properly and that it hasn’t been affected by summer heat nor by any recent cold spells. It’s especially important that you ensure your brakes, tires, headlights and windshield wipers are all functioning properly as they’ll be important if you need to drive on wet or icy roads. Even if you don’t expect to drive in snow or ice every single year, a set of winter tires can help protect your car from other dangers such as hydroplaning or sudden stops. All of this will help ensure you’ve taken the proper measures regarding your car’s safety and ability to be driven in winter weather, therefore reducing the chances of an accident. However, in South Carolina, drivers are encouraged to stay off the road if winter weather seems hazardous to drive in, which means that you’re not technically allowed to use the inclement weather or poor road conditions as an excuse as to who is at fault.
Slow Down and Be Cautious
This time of year is an exciting time for everybody, which means you’ll want to be respectful to other South Carolinians and never drive under the influence. It’s not only life-threatening to drive under the influence but in South Carolina, it can result in jail time even after the first offense. If you have to drive in snow, it’s suggested that you lower your speed by at least 10 mph but keep a steady pace and head as straight as you can. Be extra careful when breaking and try not to do so suddenly. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety actually recommends that you ease off of the accelerator to slow your vehicle instead of braking completely. Finally, be sure to put a little more distance between you and other cars that you might normally. If your car begins to slip on ice, try to steer as straight as possible and rest assured knowing that, if another driver also loses control and the two of you collide, you might not be liable for the damages to the other’s car as this would be an instance of purely weather-related damage.
Understand Your Rights if an Accident Occurs
Sometimes accidents happen, and they’re not always your fault. If you are prepared with the right types of tires and are driving carefully but are still involved in a road accident that’s not your fault, the person who caused the accident might be held responsible for your injuries and maybe even other accrued auto and medical bills. If you feel that you’re entitled to compensation for an accident that occurred during an inclement weather car accident, contact a professional legal team about how to receive what’s owed to you. And, as always, practice defensive driving to ensure you and your family are safe on the roads this winter. Enjoying the holidays means ensuring everybody makes it home safely.