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Winter weather has New Yorkers driving on thin ice

It is important to be prepared when driving in winter weather conditions.
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    February 28, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- For everyone with a driver's license in New York, driving in snowy and icy conditions is just a part of life. No matter how many years of experience a person has with winter driving, an accident can happen; even the best of drivers can be surprised by poor road conditions, and other drivers always pose a risk. While driving can be risky at any time, it's especially dangerous during this season's bitter cold and sudden snowstorms.

One of the most treacherous winter driving hazards is black ice, says the Daily Herald. This type of ice is so dangerous because it's nearly invisible, especially at night. Made of a thin sheet of ice that's most likely to form on the parts of roadways where water collects and then freezes, black ice is very slick and can catch even the most careful of drivers by surprise. Fresh black ice is often visible as a shiny patch that's darker than the rest of the road.

This winter has been particularly unpredictable for Manhattan residents, with deep freezes broken by fluctuating temperatures - often resulting in unexpected, deadly road conditions. In addition to snow and ice, water is another hazard on the roadway to watch out for. Hydroplaning can cause a vehicle to skid without warning, says the Weather Channel. When a car hydroplanes, a thin layer of water builds up between the tires and the pavement, causes the car to lose contact with the roadway and skid out of control. It's recommended to drive slowly on wet roads, and to ease off the gas and steer into the skid while braking firmly if the vehicle has an anti-lock braking system. Without anti-lock braking, the driver should avoid using the brakes.

Tragic accident highlights winter driving dangers

In mid-January, a 20-year-old woman lost control of her car and hit an oncoming pickup truck near Manhattan, reported the Southtown Star. The woman and her 16-year-old passenger were killed in the crash. Another 19-year-old passenger was critically injured. Authorities say the slippery roads were likely the cause of the accident.

Being extra careful while driving in wet and icy conditions can go a long way toward preventing accidents, says AAA. Some tips for safe winter driving include:
- Keeping tires properly inflated and the vehicle in good repair.
- Not using cruise control when driving in snow or ice.
- Always wearing a seatbelt.
- Accelerating and decelerating gradually and carefully.
- Driving slower than the speed limit.
- Increasing the following distance from vehicles in front.

Perhaps the safest way to avoid getting in an accident in winter weather is to not go out in traffic if at all possible. If a storm is incoming, it can be well worth it to delay a trip. For those who can't avoid driving, it's important to keep a cellphone handy and emergency equipment and food in the car in case of a cold-weather accident. Also, remember that many other drivers are inexperienced or less careful in poor weather conditions.

Getting help from an attorney

Winter driving conditions can lead to sudden, terrifying car accidents, which can in turn cause serious injuries and expensive medical bills. People who have been hurt by someone else's careless driving in icy or wet weather may be eligible for compensation, and should contact an experienced personal injury attorney for help.

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