Winter Storms in the US

 Snow has started to fall and winter is well on its way.  Where fall weather was expected this October snow has moved into Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota among others.  Drivers that watched the weather forecast earlier this week were caught by surprise when the snow started its decent.  The problem with the first snow of the year is that drivers are often unprepared for it.  Studs haven’t been put on yet and chains aren’t in the trunk – leading to surprised and accident prone drivers.

On Wednesday morning there was one such accident in South Dakota on Interstate 90.  The accident was so bad that the state patrol shut down the freeway in both directions for several miles.  Cars were directed to drive on the parallel forest service road and able to get back on the interstate two exits later. 

The accident happened while the roads were slick.  Snow was falling heavily and visibility was poor in some places.  While driving by it was unclear how many people were injured in the accident but it appeared that a light blue, small SUV was in a ditch on the side of the road.  The driver’s side door and windows were completely torn off and the front of the vehicle was smashed in.  Tow trucks and semi trucks were on the scene removing debris and the damaged vehicles.  The trucks were going up and down the interstate collecting the remains of smashed cars.

Road conditions continued to deteriorate throughout South Dakota with snow sticking in some places.  Plows were out on the road keeping things safe for tourist heading to Mount Rushmore.  The freeways were mostly clear and will hopefully stay that way for the rest of the day.  It is easy to see which drivers are used to the snow and who is likely passing through South Dakota today.  Locals continue to speed by without a care or concern while cautious tourist, at times, drop significantly below the speed limit.  The erratic driving patterns of those frightened by the snow can in part cause accidents. Drivers need to understand what to expect from the cars around them. “Following the speed limit, slowing gradually, and paying attention to the road makes driving in inclement weather far safer.” – Joye Law Firm  

If you are driving through states with snow this week watch for changing weather conditions, ice, and accidents.  Practicing defensive driving is important to keeping yourself safe.  If you are unfortunately caught in bad weather and end up in an accident call an attorney right away.  They will give you explicit instructions on how to document the accident scene to ensure you are not blamed for the accident.  Documenting the weather and road conditions is important in building your case.  Just because you claim to have been caught in bad weather leading to the accident – does not mean the insurance company will believe you.  Unfortunately it comes down to proving the truth as the truth alone is often not enough.