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Winter weather prep: Prepare for snow to avoid car crashes

Furnace tune-up? Check. Screen doors replaced with storm doors? Check. Tires checked for traction in snow? Check. Extra gloves, shovel and boots added to trunk? Check.

These steps are almost like a rite of passage for those who live in Pennsylvania. With the upcoming change in weather, steps need to be taken to help better ensure everyone gets through winter safely.

How dangerous is it to drive in inclement weather? Although the basic checklist outlined above can help prepare for winter, there are times when the best course of action is simply to stay home. Driving conditions can be too extreme to warrant going out on the roads, and an attempt to do so could be dangerous.

The United States Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration notes that weather-related accidents account for almost 1,259,000 accidents every year. This translates to almost 6,000 deaths and 445,000 injuries annually.

So what happens if you are in a weather related accident, be it snow or otherwise? A recent piece by FindLaw dug into the legalities of these crashes, noting that "bad weather won't excuse negligence."

Drivers are expected to adjust their driving habits to accommodate poor conditions. This can mean driving slower than the posted speed limit or failing to properly maintain a car for snow conditions.

The bottom line is that a driver who causes an accident will likely be liable, even if the accident was in large part the result of bad weather.

As a result, those who are injured in car accidents, even those caused by bad weather, are wise to seek legal counsel. An attorney can review your case and help protect any right you may have to compensation for your injuries.

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