The Impact Of Winter Weather On Car Accidents - Zayouna Law Firm
Feb 15 2024 | Zayouna Admin

The Impact of Winter Weather on Car Accidents: Tips for Safe Driving

Unless you decide to leave the country, you can’t escape driving in winter weather in Ontario. The accumulation of snow and ice on our roadways creates hazardous driving conditions that lead to daily car accidents in Ontario. It might be impossible to completely avoid dangerous driving conditions, but by understanding the hazards and taking the necessary precautions, you can better mitigate the risks.

Even with the right precautions, accidents happen. If you have been involved in a car accident in Ontario, a car accident lawyer can help you receive prompt and fair benefits from your insurance company and help you understand your options for pursuing compensation.

Frequency of Winter Weather Car Accidents in Ontario

The months of December, January, and February tend to have the highest total rates of collisions according to data from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). There tend to be around 5,000 more car accidents in Ontario reported in January than in July, mostly due to worsening road conditions.

The silver lining is that most of these extra accidents in the winter are relatively minor. Even though there are thousands more accidents reported in the winter months, there are a similar number of accidents leading to serious injury or fatality. Winter car accidents in Ontario are more likely to result only in property damage or minor injuries than summer accidents.

That said, there are still thousands of severe car accidents in Ontario every winter. In January 2019 alone, 2,900 accidents resulting in serious injury or death were reported to the MTO. Understanding the hazards on the road is the first step to keeping yourself safe.

Winter Driving Hazards

Most Ontarians are familiar with driving in the winter, but it’s not always easy to recognize the hazards of winter driving. There are several hazards created by ice and snow, some of which are more obvious than others. The primary driving hazards in winter are:

  • Poor traction in deep snow
  • Slippery surfaces created by ice and compressed snow
  • Increase stopping distances–it can take up to 10 times further to stop on icy roads!
  • Reduced visibility
  • Rapidly changing conditions–as temperatures rise toward 0°C during the day, ice can become even more slippery

You can’t control the weather, but you can take some actions to limit the risks of all of the hazards listed above. For example, when parking or when stuck in deep snow, shifting your car back and forth can pack down the snow at your wheels and help you gain traction.

Here are a few more useful winter driving tips to keep you safe this winter.

Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Install Winter Tires

Winter tires use a different rubber compound than summer or all-season tires that offer better traction in colder temperatures. The tread on your tires should be 5/32 of an inch deep or greater and tires should be installed before the first snowfall.

Tips For Safe Winter Driving - Zayouna Law Firm

As temperatures drop, so does the pressure in your tires. To keep your tires functioning optimally, it is a good idea to check your tire pressure at least once a month and top it up as needed.

Check Road Conditions Before Leaving

The weather changes quickly in the winter, and the road conditions change with it. You can use resources like Ontario 511 to check the conditions of major roadways throughout Ontario. Try to avoid driving in terrible weather conditions or take an alternate route whenever possible.

Clear All Snow and Ice Off Your Vehicle Before Leaving

By clearing all of the snow and ice off your vehicle you not only improve your visibility, but you make the roads safer for other drivers as well. Snow flying off of your vehicle while driving can make the visibility far worse for those driving behind you. Not to mention that driving with a snow-covered car can earn you a ticket if you get pulled over.

Follow Safe Driving Practices on Snowy and Icy Roads

When road conditions are poor, being extra cautious is the best way to prevent a car accident. Some simple changes to your driving behaviour can make your experience driving in winter way safer:

  • Slow down–adjust your speed as needed to offer you better control and to provide more reaction time.
  • Increase your following distance to give you more space to stop.
  • Avoid passing when road conditions or visibility are particularly bad.
  • Learn how to correctly steer your vehicle when your tires slide out. Be careful not to oversteer, which can cause you to suddenly dart in the wrong direction.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Ontario if You’ve Been Injured in an Accident

If you are involved in an accident in Ontario, knowing what to do after can make all the difference when filing insurance or tort claims. After you leave the scene of the accident, one of the first things you should do is contact your insurer to file a claim. If you have been injured, you should seek to claim accident benefits right away to help cover some of the associated costs and consider reaching out to an Ontario car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact A Car Accident Lawyer In Ontario - Zayouna Law Firm

Talking to a lawyer can help you better understand your rights following an accident. Your lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and help you explore your options for filing a tort claim against the at-fault party to compensate you for the damages you have incurred.

The lawyers at Zayouna Law Firm are here to help. We offer free initial consultations, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss your case with one of our lawyers.

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