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Jackson & New Orleans Workers' Compensation / Blog / Car Accident / Driving in Icy Mississippi Winter Conditions

Driving in Icy Mississippi Winter Conditions

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Mississippi’s weather is primarily known for its hot and humid conditions, but the state also experiences winter temperatures and hazards. You need to drive extra carefully during the winter months because of dangerous road conditions caused by snow, sleet, ice, and freezing temperatures.

According to the Department of Transportation, weather conditions contribute to 21% of vehicular accidents in the United States, and the most dangerous winter conditions are rain, icy roads, fog, snow, sleet, and slushy roadways. If you’re driving on Mississippi roads this winter season, you need to stay safe and be aware of potential hazards.

Why It’s Dangerous to Drive in Winter Conditions

The winter temperatures and climate significantly impact road conditions. The freezing temperatures and increased precipitation often leave roads nearly impossible to navigate safely.

The freezing cold temperatures can impact your vehicle’s performance. You may have decreased battery performance and deflated tires. The reason why your tires deflate is that air contracts in cold weather. Additionally, your car’s fluids, such as your oil, antifreeze, and lubricants, can thicken because cold temperatures alter the viscosity of these liquids.

In addition to negatively impacting your vehicle, the winter weather makes road conditions unsafe. The roads can become slick due to ice, slush, and rain which hurts your vehicle’s traction. The dangerous road conditions are often invisible because of black ice.

On top of the unsafe roads, you may find it challenging to see the road. The colder temperatures result in thick fog, which limits your ability to see other vehicles.

Staying Safe on Mississippi’s Icy Roads

The safest thing you can do to avoid a wreck in winter road conditions is to avoid driving entirely, but we know that sometimes that’s impossible. If you’re planning on driving through rough road conditions this winter season, make sure to follow these precautions:

  • Have an emergency kit available. In the unfortunate event that you wreck or your car breaks down, you should have a kit that includes essential items for your safety. Your kit should include a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, water bottles, nonperishable food, blankets, and jumper cables.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is properly maintained and that your tires have the correct amount of air. Underinflation and overinflation can both be highly dangerous, especially in icy road conditions.
  • Prepare your vehicle for winter conditions. You need to make sure your vehicle is equipped with antifreeze fluid, a functional heater, tire chains, and winter wipers.
  • Always wear a seatbelt and make sure everyone in your vehicle remains buckled. You should do this regardless of the weather conditions, as failing to wear a seatbelt can have fatal consequences.
  • Keep your vehicle slow and steady. When in doubt, you should go below the speed limit to reach your destination safely in icy conditions.
  • Never use cruise control in icy or slick weather conditions. You may need to make sudden changes in speed to ensure your safety.
  • Don’t follow too closely behind other vehicles. Icy road conditions increase the amount of time it takes to safely come to a complete stop, and you may have difficulty stopping because of the ice.

Who is at Fault in a Mississippi Winter Accident?

When drivers are on the road during wintertime, they’re expected to perform reasonable care and drive with extra caution. When a car accident occurs between two or more vehicles, the police and insurance companies will evaluate the actions of all of the drivers involved. In the event that a driver lost control of their vehicle due to winter roads and subsequently hit another vehicle, the insurance company will declare them to be at fault. It’s the driver’s responsibility to maintain control of their vehicle at all times, so they’re still to blame even if the road conditions caused them to lose control.

If both vehicles in a two-car wreck lost control of their vehicles, their roles in the accident could be evaluated and blame assigned based on their actions. For example, if one of the drivers was speeding, they could be assigned 80% of the blame while the other driver is assigned 20% for losing control of their vehicle while maintaining the proper speed limit

Contact a Mississippi Winter Car Accident Lawyer

Proving that another driver was at fault during a wintertime accident can be challenging. Expert car accident lawyers can help you with your case and gather evidence that you weren’t at fault. They can also handle your interactions with the other driver involved in the wreck and their insurance company.

For seasoned car accident professionals with numerous years of experience helping Mississippi drivers, contact Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe, PLLC. We’ll fight for you so that you receive the compensation you deserve for your vehicle damages and any injuries you may have sustained during the wreck. Contact our Jackson office at 601-983-2667 or click here for a free case evaluation.

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