Powerful winter storms this past President's Day weekend spurred a flurry of car accidents in North Carolina and surrounding states, traditionally known for milder weather.
Our Asheville car accident attorneys know that unless you're a northern transplant, you likely don't have much experience driving in the snow and ice. That's because North Carolina and most surrounding states are known for sunshine. Cooler nights from November through March might cause us to break out a sweater or two, but rarely do salt trucks patrol neighborhoods here the way they do up north during the winter months.
That's what took so many people off guard in the recent spate of storms that sprawled from Kentucky and Tennessee to Virginia, West Virginia and throughout North Carolina, dumping more than 9 inches of snow across the region.
Specifically in North Carolina, the Associated Press reported that cars were slip-sliding off the roadways in Raleigh and the surrounding areas on Monday morning. In Wake County alone, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol reported more than 24 accidents. In one crash, a car slid on the ice and hit a police cruiser. At the time, the officer had been on scene investigating another accident. In many instances, it was reported that sleet, snow and rain were a contributing factor in a number of crashes.
Elsewhere in the region:
--In Virginia, although salt trucks covered most of the major interstates, there were more than a few dozen accidents, including a tractor-trailer crash on I-64. Ice remained a hazard on overpasses, ramps and bridges throughout the state.
--In Virginia and West Virginia, more than 66,000 customers lost power. In Kentucky, there were more than another 33,000 without power. These outages affected a number of traffic signals as well, which likely was a contributing factor in several crashes.
--In Tennessee, there were 20 vehicles that crashed on I-75, bordering Kentucky. Troopers attributed the pile-up to a "white-out" caused by dense fog and heavy snow.
--In Virginia, I-95 North was closed after a crash that sent one man to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Another was seriously injured.
If you are not used to navigating icy or snow roads, read through the following tips from The Weather Channel on how to do so safely.
--Slow down and give yourself enough room to stop. A general rule is to leave about three times more space than what you would normally give yourself and the car in front of you.
--Keep your lights on so that you'll be easily visible to other drivers.
--Use lower gears so that you have more traction, particularly on hills.
--When you brake, do so gently so you don't skid. If you notice your wheels start to lock, ease off the brake.
--On overpasses and bridges, use extra caution. These are going to be the first to freeze. Even if it's not quite freezing, water on these roadways can quickly turn to ice, especially in the shade.
--Don't go around snow or sand trucks. Drivers of these vehicles have limited visibility, and the road in front of those vehicles isn't going to be very drivable anyway.
If you or loved one has been injured in an Asheville car accident, contact the North Carolina and South Carolina injury attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You've Been Paid.
Driving in Snow and Ice, The Weather Channel