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Winter Storm Hercules Brings Hazardous Driving Conditions

With over 100 million people in the Midwest and Northeast preparing for Winter Storm Hercules, we remember a deadly bus accident that occurred on the snowy roads of Pennsylvania. In 2011, a Martz Trailways bus swerved to avoid one disabled vehicle, but crashed into another car, killing a pedestrian. The bus then crossed back over the road, striking a guardrail before toppling onto its side, injuring many of the passengers on board.

This tragic event serves as a chilling reminder of just how dangerous winter driving can be. As personal injury attorneys, we see firsthand how such accidents can affect victim’s lives. That’s why we encourage all drivers to use caution and follow these winter driving safety tips, provided by AAA Exchange:

Tips for driving in the snow

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • Keep your distance. The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Before Winter Storm Hercules is over, some Ohio residents could see as much as 1 foot of snow with temperatures dipping into the teens. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of the state, telling motorists to expect snow and snow covered roads. In cold temperatures, snow sticks easily to the roadways. The heavier snow and blowing snow will reduce visibility. Drifting snow in open areas will occur Thursday into Thursday night.

Remember that drifting snow and low wind chill temperatures can be especially dangerous. Please bring your pets indoors and if you must go out, drive safely.