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All Press Releases for January 23, 2014 »
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Fire department crash in St. Mary's County example of winter hazards

Drivers should also know how to take full advantage of a vehicle's safety technology.
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    January 23, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- On December 8, an unusual incident occurred in southern Maryland. Every preventable St. Mary's County auto injury is a tragedy, but it is not every day that first responders themselves become accident victims.

Five members of the Newburg Volunteer Fire Department were on their way to assist at the scene of a motor vehicle accident when their own vehicle struck a sheet of ice near a bridge. The driver unsuccessfully tried to bring the engine under control before it burst through a guardrail and tumbled down an embankment, finally coming to rest on its roof.

Several neighboring fire departments -- including those from Bel Alton, Cobb Island, La Plata and Hughesville -- all responded to the accident and were able to extricate the five Newburg firefighters from the wreckage. All five victims were brought to the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center to receive treatment for minor injuries.

In your day-to-day driving, it is unlikely you will find yourself rushing to the scene of a car accident. Nonetheless, this crash serves as a powerful reminder of the danger posed by winter driving conditions in Maryland, and the extra steps drivers have to take to keep themselves and others safe on the road.

Drivers must be cautious, educated to combat challenging conditions

Slippery roads are the most prominent threat in winter driving. When following another vehicle in wintery conditions, leaving more room than usual is an obvious and easy precaution. Taking care near problem areas where ice tends to accumulate -- one of which is on or near bridges, like in the recent St. Mary's County accident -- is also important.

On slippery patches, it is crucial not to over steer. During an emergency, a little steering goes a long way. In slippery conditions, when trying to steer around an obstacle, sometimes the front wheels do not have traction. Getting no response to their input, the natural, but incorrect, instinct for many drivers is to continue turning the wheel until the vehicle does move in the direction they want it to. But, when the tires suddenly regain a grip on the surface of the road after being sharply angled, the vehicle will dart in whatever direction the tires are pointed, often straight into another car.

Drivers should also know how to take full advantage of a vehicle's safety technology. For instance, in vehicles with ABS -- standard on most newer models -- drivers need only apply steady pressure to the brakes while trying to stop. Pumping the brake, while sometimes appropriate on vehicles without ABS, is counterproductive in most newer vehicles.

When it comes to vehicle upkeep, old or worn out tires, wiper blades, or brakes all need to be quickly replaced in the winter. Topping off the windshield wiper fluid, a commonly overlooked aspect of vehicle maintenance, is also critical in the winter to ensure that drivers have a clear view of the road.

Injured in a car accident? Contact a Maryland car crash attorney

Winter weather conditions make it more challenging to drive safely, but by exercising a reasonable standard of care, drivers can protect themselves and other motorists from suffering injury in a car accident.

When a driver fails in his or her duty to drive safely and causes injury as a result, that driver, or his or her insurer, can be held financially responsible for resulting damages. If you have been injured in a car accident, get in touch with a Maryland auto accident attorney today to ensure you recover the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.

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