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Last weekend’s stormy weather resulted in hundreds of car accident calls for the Virginia State Police. Falling temperatures led to frozen roads, causing more than 500 crashes on Virginia roads.

The beginning of the snowy and icy season often leads to an increase in car crashes as people must “relearn” how to drive in the snow again. Although not all winter weather accidents are avoidable, there are steps drivers can take to help decrease the risk of an auto accident when the roads are icy or the weather is stormy.

One of the most important steps to take is to ensure that your vehicle is in good condition for the winter season by taking the vehicle to your mechanic for a maintenance check. Make sure the battery, lights, windshield wipers, washer fluid, defroster, and tires are all in good shape.

It’s also a good idea to keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. Your kit should have an ice scraper, snow shovel, and broom. You should also have either sand or kitty litter to help if your car becomes stuck in the snow. Other kit items should include a flashlight, jumper cables, and warning devices such as emergency markers or flares. It’s also a good idea to keep extra blankets in the vehicle.

If bad weather is in the forecast try to get the items you need before the storm hits. If you don’t have to venture outside during a storm, then it’s best to stay home. If you do need to drive somewhere, then make sure to leave yourself plenty of extra time to arrive at your destination.

When driving on slick or snow-covered roads, drive slowly. You don’t know what kind of icy patches may be under the snow. Also make sure to leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you in case you have to stop suddenly.

You may encounter snow plows while you are driving. Do not crowd a snow plow vehicle or drive beside one. Do not try to pass the vehicle. Keep in mind that the snow plow driver has a limited field-of-vision and may not see your vehicle. And although you may be frustrated because the plow is driving slower than you would like, keep in mind that the road he or she is plowing (and you are driving on) is a safer road.

Despite how many steps we take to ensure our safety on the road, there are always other drivers who do not take the dangers of winter weather driving seriously and those drivers are often the ones responsible for car accidents. If you are injured in an accident, make sure to contact a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options for your pain and loss.

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