Seattle isn’t exactly known for its heavy snowfall. In fact, the city only receives an average of five inches of snow yearly, according to BestPlaces. The average yearly snowfall across the United States is more than 25 inches.
The city’s yearly average of snowfall was exceeded in one February snowstorm – the biggest to hit the area in two years. It dumped nearly 8 inches of snow on the Seattle area, resulting in roughly 3,000 traffic accidents across the state of Washington.
As in many other areas that don’t often experience wintry road conditions, drivers in Seattle can find snow problematic. Many drivers aren’t accustomed to driving in it. They may brake too abruptly or fail to reduce their speeds when roads are more slippery than usual.
Safely navigating wintery roads
Seattle will most likely see massive winter snowstorms again in the future. It’s not necessarily the weather that determines the number of traffic accidents; it’s the way many drivers prepare for and approach wintery conditions.
To mitigate the risk of winter-weather-related crashes, the American Automobile Association (AAA) offers tips on how to prepare for and handle driving in the snow.
- Stay home: If it’s not imperative that you be anywhere, simply staying off the roads is a sure way to avoid a crash.
- Reduce your speed: This is one of the crucial ways to prevent a crash when the roads are slippery. Even if the posted speed limit is 40 mph, it may not be safe to travel at that speed during the given conditions. Slowing down allows you to remain in control and maintain traction.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly: When accelerating, it’s important to slowly put your foot on the gas to prevent your wheels from spinning. When slowing down, give yourself plenty of time. Take your foot off the gas and allow your vehicle to slow down without overusing your brakes.
- Maintain a safe following distance: Never follow too close behind another vehicle. Doing so puts you at risk of causing a rear-end collision. Simply keep a following distance of five to six seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Be aware of brake use: When applying the brakes, do so slowly and steadily to avoid skidding.
- Only stop if necessary: If you don’t have to stop, don’t bother. It takes much longer to come to a complete stop when roads are slippery. It’s best to take your foot off the gas and keep rolling until traffic changes, if you’re able to do so.
- Approach hills with caution: When driving uphill it’s best to speed up beforehand and allow your inertia to carry you to the top. Putting your foot on the gas while driving uphill can cause your wheels to spin and your vehicle to lose control.
In the event of a crash, our law firm can help
At Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC, we urge all motorists to be safe when inclement weather strikes. We know that many drivers in greater Seattle are responsible and cautious when taking to the roads, but there will always be those who don’t heed the warning. They may drive too fast, too close to other vehicles, or brake too abruptly.
Dangerous winter-weather driving can result in spinouts, rollovers, head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, and pileups. Crash victims can suffer from severe and life-threatening injuries because of someone else’s reckless actions. When this happens, negligent parties should be held accountable. That’s where we come in. Our trusted car accident attorneys will put your needs first and fight tirelessly on your behalf. In the event of a winter-related crash, contact our law firm to discuss your legal options.