Car accident Photo courtesy of

Washington State Patrol troopers report slick road conditions as the primary cause of Monday morning’s messy car accident in Moxee.

A woman driving a Mazda sedan failed to slow down for the heavy morning frost on the roadway and took a curve in the road too fast. She lost control of her car and crashed into the back of a semi-truck. The car slid underneath the flatbed, before striking the back tires and landing gear on the trailer. Fortunately, the car came loose, sending it into a dry irrigation canal. The wreck damaged the sedan so badly that the engine fell out of it as tow services took it away. No one appears to be injured from the collision and the driver was cited for driving too fast for the road conditions and for driving without insurance.

When is Fast Too Fast?

The law defines driving too fast for conditions as traveling at a speed that is greater than a reasonable standard for safe driving. Examples of conditions where drivers may find themselves driving too fast include: wet roadways (rain, snow, or ice), reduced visibility (fog), uneven roads, construction zones, curves, intersections, gravel roads, and heavy traffic.

Here are some tips that will help you maintain a safe speed for various driving conditions:

Reduce Your Driving Speed in Poor Weather or Adverse Conditions.

  • That means everyone should slow down to manage weather conditions, road conditions, visibility, and traffic. Going too fast in poor weather is a major cause for fatal crashes.  Damages and severity of the crash have a direct correlation to the speed going at the time of the crash.

But how do you know what to reduce your speed to? The DMV says that you should reduce your speed by 1/3 for wet road conditions, and by 1/2 or more for snowy or icy conditions. Icy conditions requires everyone to slow down and be extra cautious. Roadways can be particularly risky after the first rain of the season because water mixes with the oil that has accumulated on the road and creates a slippery sheen that can be just as dangerous as any ice or frost.

Enter a Curve Slowly.

  • Posted speed limits on curves in the road are very important to observe and are intended for passenger vehicles, not large trucks. Entering a curve with too much speed can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle and roll due to the higher center of gravity of the vehicle; and over-correcting the turn.

Statistics are reminders of things that have already happened. So here’s a scary statistic–40% of speeding-related fatalities occur on curves. Braking in a curve can cause wheels to lock up and a vehicle not to respond to the driver’s efforts. Cars then skid past the roadway into the dangerous unknowns. So always slow down for the curves. It’s just good sense!

Reduce Your Speed Before Entering an Exit or Entrance Ramp.

    • Vehicles enter and exit from traffic all the time. Reducing speed to manage lane departures is important because excessive speed on ramp curves can also cause rollovers or collisions by coming up on existing traffic too quickly.

Slow Down in Work Zones.

  • It’s the law. Workers and lane closures are very close to the flow of traffic, making work-zone deaths a scary possibility. So before entering a work zone, decrease your speed, merge into the correct lane before you run out of pavement, and be prepared to slow down or sudden stops. There are heavy penalties for ignoring the work zone speed limits and signage. A reckless driving conviction is not worth the risk!

Cold Weather Safety Reminders

Not all winter weather crashes are due to negligence.  A driver may come upon icy hazards without any warning. Dusk and reduced periods of daylight also make it hard to see visual indicators, like frost, on the road. Maintaining the speed limit is imperative, and could mean the difference between life or death, in cold weather driving.

Don’t let an accident happen because of a lack of awareness in the dangers of driving in cooler temperatures or conditions like freezing rain; or a subtle coating of snow on top of ice. Many of us make the mistake of assuming we’ll be fine because we have “4-wheel drive.” 4-wheel drive will not save you. Not if you don’t prepare for bad road conditions. Don’t rely on your vehicle to “handle” the road conditions. Power options, age of the vehicle and advertised safety features could create a false sense of security, especially when it comes to icy and slick driving conditions. For more info, check out this website.

Maintenance issues are always important factors to address in motor vehicles, but could be critical during true hazardous driving situations, like snow and ice. Make sure you have good tires, chains if necessary for mountain passes, well-maintained mechanical components, and working windshield wipers. And it’s good to remember-no amount of vehicle maintenance will matter if you forget to drive for the conditions of the road.

Check out some more safety tips on how to prevent an auto accident on slick roads here.

Our Car Accident Attorneys are Here to Help

If you or someone you know has been injured or hurt in a winter driving accident, contact Fielding Law Group today, for a free legal consultation. When it can be shown that another motorist acted negligently, violated a traffic law, or failed in any way to drive safely, we can help you recover and receive the compensation you deserve. Remember–Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!