One of the most dangerous natural elements for drivers on the road is ice. I’ve been a Seattle car accident lawyer for over a decade and I have found that accidents involving ice can be especially dangerous, regardless of the speed the car is going. The winter season of 2009-10 reported over 4,500 fatal car accidents in the United States involving ice on the road. Weather often clears up, allowing the driver to feel comfortable going out on the road without fear of the conditions, but it is important to remember that some elements like ice may still remain.
Early in the morning, on January 25th, an accident left one man injured and another man dead involving ice on a desolate Washington road. 36 year-old Rafael Santiago-Cruz of Richland, WA was driving Northbound on Taylor Flats Road. It was 6:30am and the early morning temperature was below freezing. His car hit a patch of black ice while crossing an irrigation canal overpass. Santiago-Cruz lost control of his truck and began to fishtail. Once across the overpass, his truck collided into another vehicle going in the opposite direction. Santiago-Cruz was killed at the scene. The driver of the other car, 68 year-old Morasch was transported to Harborview Medical Center. He sustained multiple broken bones including both legs.
In the early hours of the morning, it is very important to be aware of the elements left on the road from the previous night. Ice is very difficult to avoid, but there are a few ways to minimize the risk of being involved in an auto accident because of it. Here are a few tips for staying safe during icy conditions:
- Wait for the ice to melt. If conditions appear dangerous, then don’t take the risk if you don’t have to.
- Go Slow. Drive carefully and apply the brakes gradually when slowing down or coming to a halt.
- Keep the car straight. When sliding on ice, turn your front wheels in the direction that the back wheels are sliding.
- Watch out. Your car is not the only thing you have to worry about. Be watchful of other drivers who may slide out of control.