It’s a snowy day in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is common for major snowstorms to be accompanied by a large uptick in weather-related traffic accidents, and recent storms have been no exception. The Department of Transportation estimates that nearly 6,000 people are killed and over 445,000 people are injured in weather-related car accidents each year. Following the first big storm this year, the Utah Highway Patrol reported that it responded to 96 accidents and 33 slide-offs in Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah Counties in one day alone.
When the roads become particularly hazardous from snow, sleet, and ice, the best course of action is to just stay home. When that isn’t an option, however, drivers should remember to accelerate and decelerate slowly, drive slowly, increase following distances between cars, make sure brakes are in good working order and tires have sufficient tread, and avoid stopping—particularly on hills.
Unfortunately, some accidents are unavoidable because of the negligence of others. If you find yourself involved in a snow-related accident this winter, here are some important steps to follow:
- Do not leave the scene of an accident, even minor ones, and stay in your car with the lights on if road conditions are poor or visibility is low.
- Call the police. Let the police arrive and secure the scene, document the accident, interview witnesses, and gather driver information.
- Report the accident to your insurance. Create a claim for the accident to facilitate car repairs and car rental benefits you may be entitled to under your insurance policy.
- Seek medical attention. Often times injuries caused by automobile accidents are not immediately apparent. Let a professional determine the status of your injury.
- Keep a file. Keep all accident-related documents and information together. This will facilitate your interactions with the insurance company and your attorney.
- Protect your rights. Contact your attorney to ensure that your rights to compensation and the best medical treatment are protected.