Cold Weather Accident Tips
Snow days in Texas are as rare as a roadrunner being chased by a coyote. Cartoon shenanigans aside, the cold weather allowed us all to experience powdery snow and icy roads that cities along the East Coast are still reeling from. It was a proverbial winter wonderland, with snow stacking up to 3 inches in some locations around the metroplex last week. With more sleet in the forecast, Dallas/Ft. Worth is bracing for another round of treacherous road-ways.
While it’s fun to have a day off from the real world, we don’t typically stop and think about the questions and consequences of the snow days. More importantly, what do I do if I’m in a car wreck caused by the snow and ice?
Looking at the number of collision reports from Monday evening Feb 23rd through the 24th in Dallas alone, it is staggering to see how many vehicles were involved in ice accidents. A semi-truck dangled off of I-45 for over 24 hours before it was moved and the road became passable again. It’s a frightening reality if you lose control of your vehicle or you are hit by another driver due to the bad weather. What do you do? How do you handle the situation?
Here are a few tips to help you stay safe in the storm:
- Have a tow-truck company’s phone number handy. Keep it in your glove box or saved on your cell phone. Most tow-truck businesses are open because winter weather is their most active time as accidents increase on the roadways. Be sure to provide the driver with an exact location of your vehicle, to the best of your ability.
- Prep your emergency road-side kit with blankets. It’s not standard in Texas heat, but in the winter when temperatures dropping to below freezing, you’ll be thankful for that blanket if your car doesn’t start.
- Remember to call 911. Provide your location, the condition of everyone in the vehicle, and the problem you’re experiencing. 911 Operators can walk you through the steps you need to take, and may keep you on the phone depending upon the severity of the situation.
- Contact your car insurance company. While you’re waiting on the tow-truck, now is a good time to inform your insurance about the accident. Some insurance companies have phone apps that walk you through the accident reporting process, such as taking photos.
- Avoid overexertion. Shoveling snow or pushing your car takes a lot of effort. Don’t risk your safety to move your vehicle if it has spun off the road. You can build up a sweat this way, leading to wet clothing, which loses insulation value, and making you susceptible to hypothermia. Wait on the tow-truck or emergency vehicles.
- Fresh air is key. You’ll probably be stuck in that car or truck for an hour or two while emergency crews are sent your way. Sitting in your car with the heat on high and the windows closed can potentially cause carbon monoxide to build. Keep a window cracked open and only run your engine for 10-15 minutes an hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow.
Got a court date? Check the courts website or call their general information lines. Some courts will run on a shorter schedule or be closed entirely. If you have bail through Cowboy Bail Bonds, give us a call at 214-7417600. We can assist you with court date notifications and rescheduling for weather disruptions.
Check your wiper blades after ice buildup. Ice can damage older blades, which in turn can scratch your windshield. They may need to be replaced
Keep a pen and paper in your car at all times. If you need to abandon your vehicle for some reason, write down your name, address, phone number, and destination and place it on the dashboard. It helps emergency crews locate you much sooner than it would run your license plate.
If you need to call a lawyer, wait until after you’re safe and out of the cold weather. Traffic accidents happen. What’s important is your well being first before seeking legal action.
Stay warm and be safe out there!
Disclaimer: This article is offered only for general informational and educational purposes. It is not offered as and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinions.