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How winter weather complicates cross-border crashes

Canadians are no strangers to winter driving. We know to adjust our driving behaviours and ensure our vehicles can navigate slippery roads and wintry obstructions.

However, no matter how comfortable a person might be driving in the cold, snow and ice, there is still a risk of getting into a car or truck crash. And the weather itself can prove to be a complicating factor in these situations.

  1. High likelihood of multi-vehicle crashes: Chain reactions can be common in winter accidents. After all, when a road is slick or icy, the conditions can affect every vehicle. As a result, one collision or near-miss can start a chain reaction that ends with several injured parties. This was the tragic case when two dozen vehicles crashed on a road covered in glare ice; several people suffered injuries, and one man and his dog were killed.
  2. Types of collisions – On slippery roads, it can be far more difficult for a vehicle to stop in time to avoid crashing. Thus, there can be a high chance of rear-end collisions and related injuries, like whiplash. And when large commercial trucks cannot stop, they can jackknife or flip over, creating a secondary hazard that other motorists cannot avoid.
  3. Post-crash exposure risks – Getting medical attention immediately after a crash is crucial, particularly when injuries are severe and there are freezing temperatures to contend with. In addition to the damages caused by the collision, there is also a risk of hypothermia, frostbite and other conditions resulting from prolonged exposure to cold or moisture.
  4. Legal complications – Unfortunately, there can be legal complications when people are in a winter-weather crash. Factors like liability and insurance coverage can be confusing. And when people are driving between the U.S. and Canada, issues related to compensation caps and moving violations can create additional uncertainty—because of this, talking to a lawyer after an accident is often wise.

While we cannot prevent every accident in the coming months, these factors should remind every road user how critical it is to drive safely. Further, this information can remind motorists to have an emergency car kit during these winter months.