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Do Accident Risks Increase During Winter Months?

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on January 26, 2018

Florida is experiencing one of its coldest winters on record, with the first snowfall south of the Panhandle in years. Plummeting temperatures and resultant precipitation are exposing many Floridians to hazards they don’t typically have to worry about. It’s not a myth that more injuries tend to happen in winter compared to summer. There are risks unique to the winter months, such as icy conditions on the roadway, slippery parking lots, prolonged exposure to cold weather. Here are few accidents you might only see during Florida’s coldest winters.

Ice and Snow

It’s no secret that Florida drivers aren’t used to driving on icy roads. Unlike northern states that experience snowfall most winters, Florida only gets wintery precipitation once in a blue moon. This means inexperienced drivers and vehicles that aren’t prepared to navigate snow and ice. If you must drive on winter’s worst days, use these safety tips:

  • Always obey the posted speed limit.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly, with control.
  • Know your brakes, and don’t stop too quickly on wet or icy roads.
  • If precipitation is too bad, just stay home.

Wintertime in Florida can mean icy windshields, hydroplaning on ice, and vehicle breakdowns. When in doubt, simply stay home until the worst of the winter weather subsides. Otherwise, drive as safely as possible.

Vehicle Breakdowns

Cold weather does things to vehicles that warm weather does not. Every winter, drivers in Florida should make a few changes to “winterize” their vehicles and reduce the risk of breakdowns and part failures. Check your battery, fluid levels, wiper blades, and tire pressure, as cold weather can affect all of these vehicle parts. Visit your mechanic before the start of winter to make sure you prepare your car for the worst. Pay special attention to radiation fluid to prevent your engine block from freezing on particularly cold nights.

Snowbirds Mean More Cars on the Roads

Winter precipitation isn’t the only thing putting Florida drivers at risk. Flocks of “snowbirds,” or tourists who live or visit Florida in the winter months to escape colder norther states, also fill the roads from November to May. These tourists are typically older; hence the negative connotation people often associate with snowbirds as slow drivers that clog traffic. More tourists on the roads means an increased risk of traffic collisions. Keep a safe driving distance around snowbirds, as they may drive slower and have slower reaction times than other drivers.

Other Causes of Wintertime Injuries

The roadway isn’t the only place that can become more dangerous in winter. Slick sidewalks and stairways can pose a serious risk of falls. Falls on icy surfaces can result in bone fractures, especially in the wrist as people try to catch themselves as they fall. It is a property owner’s responsibility to keep a premise reasonably clear from ice and snow in winter. If a reasonable amount of time has passed and the property owner still hasn’t remedied the fall hazard, victims may be able to sue for damages.

Even in Florida, wintertime risks exist. Keep yourself and your family safe this winter by recognizing and avoiding common hazards.

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