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Prevent winter car accidents with these tips

Ice, winter storms and poor road conditions lead to over 2,000 road fatalities in West Virginia and across the United States each year. Staying safe on the roads during winter means preparation and vigilance while driving.

During winter storms, it is best to stay in and avoid the roads if possible. During a storm, snow and winds lower visibility. This greatly increases the chance of a car crash occurring. Drivers who need to go out during a storm should take precautions. It's recommended to attach snow chains to tires when icy roads are an issue. Drivers should check the wiper blade for wear and tear and replace them if necessary. Wiper fluid should regularly be added to the car and should be rated for -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

While driving, it's important to drive slowly. Driving fast reduces road traction, increasing the risk of sliding off the road. Drivers should never use cruise control while driving long distances as this may cause loss of vehicle control. If a skid or slide does occur, drivers need to always turn in the direction of the skid. Once the vehicle regains traction, drivers can gently straighten out the vehicle rather than over-correcting it to stay in the lane. It's vital to remember it takes longer to stop when roads are slick. Leaving eight to 10 seconds between each vehicle may help drivers stop their vehicles in time.

Motor vehicle accidents may have serious effects on those involved in the accident. These include serious medical injuries, the need for ongoing medical care and lost wages. Drivers need to prepare adequately before driving the roads during wintry conditions to prevent accidents from occurring. If a driver doesn't take precautions while driving, he or she may be responsible for the accident. For example, a driver who failed to drive slowly during winter weather may have behaved negligently. If a lawyer can show that the driver was negligent, the injured parties may be able to collect medical and compensatory damages.

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