Texting While Driving in Bad Weather Conditions

snowy highway traffic

Over the years, the attorneys of Mann Wyatt Tanksley Injury Attorneys have seen how motorists cause terrible accidents because they were texting while driving. However, this dangerous situation is exacerbated even further when combined with inclement weather. This dangerous combination can lead to a greater number of auto accident injuries and fatalities.

“Texting while driving takes your eyes off the road longer than any other distracted driving offense,” says Scott Mannauto accident attorney.

“It involves reading, writing and reacting to a message, which takes at least 5 seconds. If you are driving 55 mph, this means you are not looking at the road for 100 yards.”

According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), the number of drivers using a cell phone or electronic device is 660,000 at any given time in the United States. Texting while driving is also the leading cause of vehicular death for teenagers. Studies conducted by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center has estimated that 3,000 teen deaths and 300,000 injuries were caused by texting while driving in 2013.

“Texting while driving is actually a problem for drivers of all ages,” says Scott, “Motorists who text while they drive are just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than motorists who are driving while intoxicated. When this is combined with inclement weather, the results are even more tragic.”

When the road surface is covered in snow, ice, sleet or rain, drivers have far less time to react to traffic conditions. It takes much longer to stop safely, change lanes, or make a turn. Driving in these hazardous conditions takes the full attention of an alert driver. Texting motorists aren’t watching the road, and have even less reaction time on an icy surface. They stomp on their brakes, which makes their car slide farther than it would otherwise — even into another lane of traffic.

Tips For Avoiding Car Accidents in Bad Weather Conditions

Your life changes after a car accident. Even if you are fortunate not to suffer major physical injuries, the shock of a collision can make it forever difficult to get behind the wheel. Living with the memories of a car crash make you wish it had never happened.

Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent accidents even during bad Missouri weather. Those Springfield roads may be slick and icy during winter, but with extra caution and attentiveness, you can keep yourself, your passengers and fellow drivers safe.

1. Pay Attention

Awareness of hazardous conditions is essential to road safety. Black ice, slippery roads and low visibility make an accident more likely. Stay alert to other drivers and pedestrians who may drive fast, jaywalk or otherwise make situations more dangerous. It only takes a second of distraction for an unthinkable accident to occur.

2. Slow Down

Drive 5 to 10 miles below the speed limit on snowy or icy roads or in rainy conditions. Slower speeds mean you’re less likely to skid on slippery streets. Heavy rains combined with fast driving can make your car hydroplane, where you’re off the ground and moving on a layer of water. To stay in control, slow down.

3. Keep Your Headlights On

Your headlights are vital to increase visibility. If you haven’t cleaned your covers in a while, give them a wipe to maximize brightness. Fog lights can help you see the road better, since they are low to the ground, and their yellow tinge is more effective than white beams. Always be aware of the visibility of drivers coming in the opposite direction, and turn your high beams on or off as appropriate.

4. Practice Windshield Wiper Safety

You rely on windshield wipers to clear away snow, rain and debris that obstruct your vision. Aging wiper blades don’t clean effectively, as the rubber doesn’t make full contact with the glass. Consider replacing your wiper blades if the rubber is cracked or you’re preparing for a particularly snowy winter in Springfield. Special winter blades may be your best option.

5. Leave Extra Space Between Cars

The driver in front of you may have to brake without warning. During bad weather conditions, it may take more time for you to stop. Leave about 100 yards between yourself and the car ahead so you can come to a halt without skidding into the other vehicle. Remember 100 yards is about the length of one football field.

6. Put Your Phone Away

Whenever you’re driving, there is no text message or phone call more important than watching the road. Missouri state law prohibits drivers aged 21 or younger from texting and driving, but putting away the mobile device while behind the wheel is good safety practice for all ages.

In order to fully minimize distractions, tell your passengers not to talk to you while you are navigating the roads during bad weather. Keep your eyes and your focus on the task at hand, which is driving safely.

Even the most conscientious drivers sometimes experience a personal injury accident. These events are traumatic and may cause physical devastation. Many people need assistance dealing with insurers, employers and medical professionals in the difficult recovery period.

If you have been in an accident causing personal injury, the attorneys at Mann Wyatt Tanksley Injury Attorneys can help. Give us a call in Springfield as soon as possible so we can take care of your needs.