icy road

Driving in Ice: What You Can Do to Avoid an Accident

Driving on icy roads in Mississippi presents a unique set of challenges, often underestimated due to our typically milder winters. The slick, unpredictable surface of ice-covered roads can lead to hazardous conditions, making accidents more likely. Understanding the risks and being well-prepared can make a significant difference in avoiding potential accidents

Understanding the Risks of Ice on the Road

Ice on the road transforms an ordinary drive into a potentially dangerous journey. When temperatures drop, roads can become coated with a thin, almost invisible layer of ice, known as black ice, making them extremely slippery. This slick surface significantly reduces tire traction, complicating steering and braking. Consequently, vehicles are more prone to skidding, losing control, and getting into collisions. These risks are heightened on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas where ice tends to form more readily and last longer. Understanding these risks is crucial, as it affects how drivers should approach their travel during icy conditions – with heightened caution, slower speeds, and an increased awareness of the unpredictable nature of icy roads.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Icy Conditions

Preparing your vehicle for icy conditions is a crucial step in ensuring your safety on the road. Start by ensuring your tires are winter-ready and have sufficient tread to navigate slippery surfaces. Check that your brakes are functioning optimally, as responsive braking is vital on ice. It’s also important to maintain proper levels of antifreeze to prevent your engine from freezing. Equip your vehicle with an emergency kit that includes items like blankets, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and some non-perishable snacks. These preparations can be the difference between a safe journey and a hazardous one in icy conditions.

Safe Driving Techniques on Ice

Navigating icy roads safely requires adapting your driving techniques to the challenging conditions. First, reduce your speed significantly; ice diminishes tire traction, making high speeds dangerous. Increase your following distance to at least three times the usual space to give yourself ample time to react if the car in front of you skids or stops suddenly. 

Apply brakes gently to avoid skidding; if your vehicle begins to skid, steer gently in the direction you want to go and avoid slamming on the brakes, as this can worsen the skid. Use low gears to maintain traction, especially on hills. Be particularly cautious on bridges and overpasses where ice forms more readily. Finally, always stay focused on the road and avoid distractions – your full attention is necessary for safely responding to the rapidly changing conditions on icy roads.

What to Do If You’re Involved in an Ice-Related Accident

If you’re involved in an ice-related accident, it’s crucial to stay calm and prioritize safety. First, ensure that you and any passengers are unharmed. Move your vehicle to a safe location if it’s causing a hazard in the road and turn on your hazard lights. Call emergency services if there are injuries or significant vehicle damage. While waiting for help, document the accident scene with photos and take note of any relevant details, such as road conditions. 

Exchange contact and insurance information with any other parties involved. Avoid discussing fault at the scene; this will be determined later. It’s also wise to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Safety and clear documentation are key in these situations.

How We Can Help If You’ve Had an Ice-Related Accident

Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman specializes in navigating the complexities that arise after an ice-related accident. We can provide invaluable assistance in dealing with insurance companies, ensuring you receive fair compensation for damages and injuries. Our experienced attorneys will also help in gathering evidence, such as accident reports and witness statements, to build a strong case on your behalf. 

If you’ve been involved in an ice-related accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Lawyers That Listen. We are here to offer you the support and guidance you need during this challenging time.

About the Author
Jefferson D. Gilder is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and was admitted to the Mississippi and Tennessee Bars in 1990. Mr. Gilder is admitted to practice in all courts in Mississippi and Tennessee including Federal Court, the Fifth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Gilder's areas of practice include personal injury, criminal, medical malpractice, civil rights, and product liability. Mr. Gilder spent his first ten years as an attorney practicing with his father, Robert G. Gilder, at Gilder Law Firm in Southaven, Mississippi before forming Gilder, Howell & Assoc., P.A. with Jamie W. Howell, Jr. in June of 2000. This firm although as another legal entity has now combined their resources and experience with Chatham – Pittman, to form Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Jefferson through our contact page.