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As I look out my office window at a white out it reminds me that as the winter season settles in upon us in the Northeast, on the roads we can all expect the standard traffic back-ups, car maintenance problems and motor vehicle accidents. There are certain precautions which can be taken to reduce the risks of an accident or in the alternative at least to prepare should you be involved in one.

Drivers should take extra care while driving on winter roads, and should drive slowly and carefully when the weather is bad in order to avoid collisions. During storms, plan long trips carefully, listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions. Always travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person.

It is also worthwhile to have a mechanic check the following items on your car.

Wipers and windshield washer fluid
Ignition system
Flashing hazard lights
Exhaust system
Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE 10w/30 weight variety)

You should install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions in [Ohio] although driver’s of certain vehicles may wish to obtain snow tires. Also, keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal and maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.

In the event that you are involved in an accident, be careful in exiting your vehicle after a collision. Take time assess your condition and try to clear your head to assess if anyone else may be injured. If so, immediately call 911 to request assistance. If there are no serious injuries you can then consider whether the authorities need to be called. It is always a good idea to complete a police report and most insurance companies require it. If you have a camera or cell phone that takes pictures, consider taking some photos of the scene and vehicles to document the site and circumstances. Finally, while it may not be necessary in all cases, it makes good sense to contact your lawyer at the earliest opportunity to determine what additional steps need to be taken to protect your rights. Most attorneys do not charge for this type of consultation and should be glad to help.

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