Winter Storm Causes Accidents Throughout North Carolina

Unusual weather highlights need to adjust driving for conditions

Last month, a winter storm that blasted North Carolina led to over 1,500 accidents across the state in the span of 24 hours.

Snow and ice are dangerous to motorists everywhere, but particularly in North Carolina, where drivers may have less experience driving in winter weather because it simply doesn’t come as often. While many North Carolina residents are transplants from other states that see more winter weather, they’re still at risk as well, as they may be involved in car accidents with inexperienced drivers.

While winter is winding down now, it’s important to keep in mind throughout the year that part of being a safe and responsible motorist is adjusting to road conditions in order to avoid accidents. Remember that posted speed limits are intended for ideal driving conditions. In rain, hail, sleet, snow, darkness, fog or any other condition that impairs driving, slow down.

Events such as last month’s storm can be particularly dangerous because police officers and other emergency personnel may come upon several other accidents while responding to a call. Depending on the circumstances, they may need to stop and render aid, delaying their response. Moreover, emergency responders need to slow down in order to avoid running off the road themselves.

In short, it’s especially important to avoid being in an accident in the first place, because getting help may be difficult if you are.

Safe driving tips for inclement weather

Remember, in the event of a winter storm, the safest way to drive is to avoid driving at all. Stay home if you can.

If you do have to get on the road, slow down to the point where you can maintain control over your vehicle. It’s important to maintain a greater following distance than usual because the vehicle in front of you may have trouble stopping. Likewise, when you approach a stop sign or a red light, start braking well in advance to make sure you have time to come to a stop.

Make sure you budget additional time in your commute or travel plans to clear snow and ice from your windows and lights. Obstructions to your view can add to the risk of an accidents.

To prepare for the worst-case scenario, travel with an emergency supply kit that includes a blanket, water, snacks and a flashlight. And, of course, if you are in an accident, make sure the scene is safe – and that you take steps to document what happened to protect your legal rights.