January 27, 2017
As Arizona Personal injury lawyers, we are well aware of the increase in car accidents that occur during the winter months. Unless under unavoidable circumstances, most Americans residing in cold weather states prefer to stay in doors and off the roadways during frigid winter conditions. Judging by the amount of traffic frequenting the Northern parts of Arizona, it would seem to be quite the opposite here. In fact the more snow and ice expected to fall on destinations like Flagstaff, the White Mountains, and Prescott, the more Phoenicians are likely to flock to these locations. After all, we only have a brief period to enjoy winter activities, so we must take advantage. Unfortunately, Arizonans are not used to winter driving conditions, and that can lead to more car accidents and personal injury claims. As such, Torgenson Law provides the following five tips for drivers to follow before heading to the Arizona high country:
Inspect Your Car: Arguably the first and most important thing to complete before embarking on a road trip to Arizona’s high country is an inspection of your vehicle. Make sure that the battery, heater, lights, windshield wipers and window defrosters are working properly. Additionally, be sure that anti-freeze, oil, wiper fluid and obviously the gas tank are filled to the correct levels.
Be Prepared: Reportedly, ADOT has an arsenal of nearly 200 snowplows and 400 trained plow operators stationed throughout the state to keep highways accessible during winter storms. However, drivers need to understand that snow and ice may make for a delayed trip and even highway closure, which could leave you stranded at a truck stop or on the side of the road. That being said, it is essential to equip your vehicle with the correct winter gear. Note, you may not use everything you pack but it’s better to have it on hand and not need it than to need something and not have it. The essential items include:
Detailed Trip Plans: Beware of existing and forecast weather conditions. Try not to rely heavily on cell phones or map apps for directions. Old fashion maps are the most reliable and you’ll never have to worry about dead batteries and cell service. Simply put, many areas do not have cellular coverage making the possibility of getting lost and stuck on impassible roads likely. For example, a Pennsylvania woman was forced to hike out 26 miles of Arizona backcountry before being rescued. As the story goes, the woman lost cellphone service and proceeded to make a near catastrophic turn down a wrong road, which proved impassible during winter weather. Crazy things happen and we do not want them to happen to you!
Drive Smart: Maintain lower than normal speeds if roads are snow or ice covered and anticipate longer than normal breaking periods. On that note, AVOID SLAMMING ON YOUR BREAKS. Be cognitive of black ice, especially during morning and evening hours and remember that non-pavement roads such as bridges and overpasses freeze first.
Be Wary Of Alternate Routes: The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) recently put out a public statement reminding travelers to avoid dirt roads as a substitute to highways. Yes, this tip may seem a bit unorthodox however, AZDPS released a report stating that a Grand Canyon Tour bus had gotten stuck on a muddy road about 30 miles northwest of Flagstaff. The passengers were stranded for 8 hours in freezing temperatures, snowfall and darkness. Allegedly, the driver transitioned to an alternate route recommended by a GPS service. Luckily for the tourist on board, the bus was fully fueled and continued running while passengers waited for help. While this story may be seem a bit comical, there would be absolutely nothing funny about being stranded on a remote forest road, in a snowstorm with darkness approaching.
It should go without saying that we are extremely blessed with a wonderful diversity of winter weather. I mean c’mon, where else in the world can one enjoy a refreshingly mild morning in the desert and then spend that same afternoon enjoying the snow? Torgenson Law encourages everyone to get out and take full advantage of such a great opportunity. For those who do, remember that winter weather can be unpredictable and so are the many other drivers on the road. By following the listed steps, your trip will be more enjoyable and safe for everyone. You can avoid Arizona car crashes. Under the unfortunate circumstance that you suffer a personal injury at the fault of another, please give Torgenson Law a call for a free consultation at (602) 759-0012.