As last month’s storms showed, the winter driving season arrived early for Massachusetts residents this year. Drivers must change their habits as cold weather approaches, and a recent accident involving Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray should serve as a welcome reminder of the importance of winter driving safety.
Murray was involved in a single-vehicle car accident on the morning of November 2, after an early-season snow storm wreaked havoc throughout the state. Murray was driving his state vehicle when he hit a patch of black ice, spun out and struck a guard rail. Murray reported that he was driving at or around the highway’s 65 mph speed limit at the time of the accident. Fortunately, Murray was not injured.
Winter Driving Safety Tips
Massachusetts auto accident lawyers know all too well that winter weather leads to an increase in motor vehicle accidents. The only guaranteed way to prevent winter weather accidents is to stay home when conditions turn dangerous. However, if you have to drive, you can reduce the risk of an accident by heeding the following safety tips:
- Drive slowly. Remember – the posted speed limit is meant to be an indicator of safe speeds in dry conditions only.
- Allow extra following distance between you and the car ahead of you. It takes a lot longer to come to a complete stop on slippery pavement.
- Don’t use the brake unless you need to – it is much easier to control the vehicle if you slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas. Avoid cruise control for the same reason.
- Be especially vigilant on bridges and overpasses, as these areas tend to freeze first.
- Remember that black ice is often invisible – always drive cautiously, even if the road does not appear icy.
It is also a good idea to carry a winter emergency kit in your car, stocked with essentials like a scraper and shovel, flashlight, warm clothes, food and water.
If you do get in an accident, stay with your vehicle until help arrives. If you become injured, consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney who will protect your rights.
Source: Masslive.com, “Massachusetts State Police Release Accident Report on Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray’s Storm-Related Wipeout on I-190,” Patrick Johnson, Nov. 3, 2011.