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Michigan winter storm warning – How you can avoid a car accident

February 1, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Car accident lawyer gives 11 safe driving tips for traveling through the snow storm

A long Michigan winter looks like it’s going to get a lot longer: The Detroit Free Press is reporting that a massive snow storm could dump 15 inches of snow on Michigan drivers this evening and into Wednesday. People are preparing for the worst, and remembering all the car accidents that happened back in mid-December when we had our last big storm.

But instead of panicking, our car accident lawyers would like to share these winter driving tips, so you can avoid crashes in this treacherous, possibly record-breaking snow storm and get home safe!

Since there is supposed to be more than one-foot of snowfall, it is best to stay off the roads if you can. Prevention is always the best advice, and motorists would do well to avoid driving if possible.

But when you have to get on the roads, keep these winter driving safety tips in mind as you drive:

o Clear all snow and ice from your vehicle to improve visibility. Include the hood, roof, trunk, turn signals, tail lights and headlights. One little 6-inch patch that you scrape on the window is NOT good enough. Take the extra time to make sure you have an unobstructed view.

o Slow down on metro Detroit roads when visibility and road conditions are bad.

o Increase the following distance between cars and trucks.

o Anticipate dangers like black ice. Black ice is more likely to be present on bridges and underpasses.

o Anticipate other dangers like hidden lane markings, stalled cars and poor visibility.

o Use proper braking techniques for ice and snow. If you have anti-lock brakes — which most cars and small trucks are equipped with today — stomp firmly on the anti-lock brakes. If you do not have anti-lock brakes, pump your brakes and steer into a skid.

o If you find yourself skidding and losing control, slam on those anti-lock brakes. Without anti-lock brakes, steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go and straighten the wheel as soon as the car begins to veer in the desired direction. Try your best to remember this tip and do not let fear take over at the onset of a skid.

o If you’ve been in a minor car accident on snowy roads, stay in your vehicle while you wait for help to arrive. If you get out to inspect the damage, you risk being hit by other vehicles. As a car accident lawyer, I’ve sadly witnessed far too many minor fender-benders turn into the most catastrophic of car accidents as drivers are hit by subsequent motorists.

o If your car stops or stalls, remain in the vehicle after turning on your dome light. If you need to run the car, do it only enough to stay warm and then shut it down again.

o Always keep heavy blankets, flares, a medical first-aid kit and other emergency items in your vehicle. Also, keep a flashlight, jumper cables and some type of warning device in your trunk.

o Most importantly, buckle up your safety belts! They could literally save your life in the event of a serious car accident.

o If you have children, please put them in car seats. If the child is under 12 years old, the safest place is in the backseat.

In addition to winter driving safety tips, the car accident lawyers at Michigan Auto Law have created several checklists to help drivers prepare for and respond to serious car accidents. Every car accident, personal injury and circumstance is unique. These guides are simplified outlines to help protect and inform drivers, to ensure the best possible outcome in the event of an auto accident.

o Before a car accident in Michigan

o At the scene of an auto accident (Please print this and keep it in your glove box, just in case)

o Immediately following a Michigan car accident

If you have been involved in a car accident due to hazardous Michigan weather, or a another driver who may have been driving recklessly during dangerous road conditions, please call one of our personal injury attorneys at (248) 353-7575. There is absolutely no fee or obligation.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top attorneys handling serious car and truck accident injury cases and auto insurance No-Fault litigation. Steve speaks and writes extensively on safe driving and Michigan’s No-Fault laws, and is available for comment.

Related information about safe driving in Michigan:

Safe driving techniques

Texting while driving: disturbing PSA

New Michigan law targets “drunker” drivers

10 foods to avoid while driving

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit to better serve you.

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