Every year when the temperatures plunge, there is usually a related story involving an Indiana driver being seriously injured in a winter weather-related accident. For that reason, each winter we devote a blog entry to the art of driving safely on Indiana’s snow and ice-covered roads.
However, this year we want to review the dangers of winter driving from a different angle. We have decided to look at it through the actions and misdeeds of someone we call a Winter Weather Bully.
There is nothing more frustrating (or frightening!) than witnessing someone drive recklessly on snow and ice-covered roads, yet it happens every winter. Quite frankly, this person is being a bully. And there is simply no excuse for putting others’ lives at risk by failing to account for Indiana’s winter weather conditions.
We thought it would be helpful to look at the signs and warnings you may be sharing the road with a Winter Weather Bully. We will also briefly discuss some of the actions you can take to avoid being the victim of a car accident caused by a Winter Weather Bully.
Signs you are sharing the road with a Winter Weather Bully
They abuse their gas pedal – It seems logical, but each year the Indiana State Police release their tips for safe winter driving and it always includes the advice to “accelerate and decelerate slowly.”
A dangerous winter-weather driver ignores this tip and drives as they would during the dry seasons. They simply refuse to adjust their driving habits to the road conditions, accelerating and decelerating in quick and abrupt fashion.
They follow too closely – AAA recommends that winter weather drivers give a 5 to 6-second distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you.
In the event that the driver ahead of you suddenly brakes, the added cushion of distance will help to ensure you don’t slide on the snow and ice into their rear-end.
A person who fails to give this amount of space between themselves and the car in front of them is not only being inconsiderate, they are asking for an accident.
They do not familiarize themselves with their own vehicle – Being familiar with the nuances of your vehicle is a must during winter weather driving. This includes things such as fully understanding your blind spots; knowing all the hiccups related to your vehicle’s performance, and being especially knowledgable of your car or truck’s brake performance.
A bully will pay little attention to the details of their own vehicle. For example, they may be unfamiliar with the amount of pressure needed to safely apply their brakes. Or they might refuse to learn how to properly and safely use their anti-lock brakes.
Being familiar with small details is critical to safely navigating Indiana’s snow-covered roads.
They do not defrost or scrape their windows – Someone who fails to fully remove the ice, frost, and snow from their windows is driving with a field of vision that is significantly reduced. Not being able to have a clear sightline through all of a vehicle’s windows is not only putting the driver at risk, but it also poses a great danger to fellow motorists.
Additionally, it is always a courtesy to remove any loose snow that may be on the roof of your vehicle, hood, or backend. Driving with mounds of snow on your car creates a hazard for those driving around you, as snow and large pieces of ice can dislodge and quickly fall into the path of others.
They drive as if they are qualifying for the Indy 500 – Bullies never learned the lesson that “slow and steady wins the race!”
Put simply, everyone should slow down during winter weather. This includes drivers of large trucks who sometimes may have a false sense of invincibility on snowy and ice-covered roads.
They fail to adjust to the conditions – Indiana winters are highly unpredictable but they can be safely managed if everyone adjusts their speed and other driving habits to match the snowy conditions.
In addition to snow and ice, there is also a great chance that bullies will fail to account for the winter danger known as “black ice.” When a speeding bully’s vehicle hits black ice, it can quickly spin out of control, leaving the driver and those around them in immediate danger.
How to deal with Indiana’s Winter Weather Bullies
If you find yourself sharing the road with someone who is driving like a Winter Weather Bully, do not react angrily or panic. Avoidance and maintaining a calm demeanor is always your best option.
As such, if you are on a multi-lane interstate or highway, try to navigate to the farthest lane from the erratic driver. If you are on a single-lane road, it might be safest to slowly pull over to the shoulder and let this person pass.
If you find yourself being tailgated on snow-covered roads, never slam your breaks in an attempt to get the driver to back off. This could easily result in a rear-end accident or an instance of road rage. (Indiana recently ranked #1 in terms of road-rage related incidents, some of which involved fatalities.)
If you see an especially dangerous driver who is a hazard to themselves or others on a snow-covered road, you can also dial 911 to report the vehicle. It is always best to let police officers respond to the person rather than attempt to confront them yourself.
Indiana’s winters can be a beautiful sight. Let us all make sure that it stays that way by simply being respectful of those we share the road with. And please, do not be a Winter Weather Bully!
Injured in a winter-related auto accident?
If snow and ice were a contributing factor to your auto accident, we recommend that you speak to an experienced Indianapolis personal injury lawyer to fully understand your rights. In fact, we have witnessed insurance companies try to shift some of the blame from their insured to an innocent driver because of the road conditions.
Attorney Matt Boulton has handled several winter-related accidents throughout Indiana and has successfully helped his clients recover for damages such as:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Boulton Law Group also offers every accident victim a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that you will NEVER be charged a consultation fee, and the only way the firm receives payment for its legal services is after we win your case.
To speak to attorney Boulton today, call 317-350-2680.
If you prefer to write to us with the details of your accident, you can use our confidential contact form. Once we receive your contact, attorney Boulton will begin to review your potential claim.
We look forward to hearing your story and going to work for you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.