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Binghamton Car Accident Attorney Urges New York Motorists to Use Caution with Holiday Travel

Published December 29, 2011 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

New York motorists should exercise extra caution on the roads now that winter is officially underway and, according to a recent USA Today report, millions of drivers will be on the roads for the holidays, Binghamton car accident attorney Scott C. Gottlieb said today.

“Millions of families will be traveling to see loved ones over the holidays,” said Gottlieb, whose Binghamton personal injury firm, Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, regularly handles auto accident and wrongful death lawsuits. “The extra traffic congestion can make roads even more hazardous, particularly in inclement winter weather.”

Around 84 million people are expected to hit the roads for the holidays this year, according to a USA Today report that cited forecasts from the AAA travel organization.

“Drivers who are caught up in the rush to get last-minute presents or to attend holiday events are more likely to get distracted behind the wheel, which can be deadly in winter weather,” said Gottlieb. “Icy and snowy road conditions demand extra attention, not the opposite.”

Alcohol is a big contributing factor in holiday accidents, Gottlieb added. Last year, 415 people died in alcohol-related crashes during the second half of December alone, according to the National Highway Transportation Administration.

“The flood of holiday parties and time off work means that people have more time to socialize, and that can include drinking,” Gottlieb said. “Designating a driver is a simple way to prevent catastrophic accidents at any time of year, and it is especially critical in freezing and slippery conditions.”

The Binghamton personal injury attorney added that even the most experienced driver is vulnerable to harm while driving in winter weather.

“All of the driving experience in the world cannot protect you if the motorist in the car beside you chooses to drive recklessly,” he said. “However, if an accident does happen and you are injured, New York law can protect you.”

People who are injured in winter weather wrecks in Binghamton can benefit from speaking to a personal injury attorney about the case, according to Gottlieb.

“An experienced car accident attorney can advise injured victims and their loved ones about their rights and about what types of compensation are available to them,” he said.

In addition, Gottlieb recommends that motorists follow the winter driving safety tips from the NHTSA:

  • Get the car serviced and perform routine maintenance before hitting the roads – Make sure the mechanic looks for any bad hoses, leaks or worn or malfunctioning car parts.
  • Check the battery – Car batteries have to work harder in freezing temperatures. Check the battery’s voltage and make sure the system’s charger and belts are in working order.
  • Inspect the brakes – Worn brake pads or other components can affect a vehicle’s ability to stop quickly in an emergency.
  • Fill the windshield washer reservoir – Washer fluid is essential to clear away snow or debris that may hit the car in inclement weather. Make sure to buy no-freeze fluid.
  • Check the wiper blades and defrosters – Replace worn blades and make repairs to defrosters to ensure peak visibility.
  • Inspect the car’s tires – Proper tire pressure and traction significantly increases a driver’s ability to steer and control the car safely. Install snow tires if you live in an area that normally has heavy snowfalls.
  • Check the cooling system – Frozen coolant can cause permanent engine damage. Make sure the car has enough coolant and that there are no leaks in the system.
  • Prepare an emergency roadside kit – Keep items such as ice scrapers, flares, hazard signs, a tire pressure gauge and jumper cables in the car in the event of an emergency.
  • Know your car – Vehicles handle and maneuver differently in winter weather. Make sure you understand how your brakes will respond in snow or ice. If you are new to driving in winter conditions, don’t hit the roads until you are comfortable.
  • Avoid distractions – Limit cell phone calls to a minimum. The use of a handheld device while driving for talking or texting is a primary traffic offense in New York.

About Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, handles all types of personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and boats. The firm also represents clients in actions for wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases. In 2008, the firm reached the $100-million mark in combined lifetime verdicts and settlements. The firm features offices in Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. For more information, call (800) TALK-LAW or use the firm’s online contact form.

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