Winter Storm Jonas Wreaks Havoc on Tennessee Roads

The dangers of driving in winter weather are serious

Winter Storm Jonas covered more than 400,000 square miles of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast with snow in January, pummelling 24 million people with 20 or more inches of snow. Of course, the frigid temperatures, paired with the sleet, freezing rain, and snow that came with the winter storm, made even the shortest drive a risky venture. A state of emergency was declared in Tennessee, and road crews worked around the clock to attempt to keep roadways as safe as possible.

In Tennessee, a woman was killed in the eastern part of the state when her car slid off an icy road and plunged down a 300-foot embankment. Her death was the only one reported in the state that was caused by the hazardous conditions from the storm.  Her husband, who was in the passenger seat, survived the traumatic crash. In Nashville, a tractor-trailer jackknifed, completely blocking portions of Interstate 40. Traffic was backed up for hours, officials commented. Nashville police noted more than 220 non-injury crashes and 12 injury collisions on January 21 alone.

Lieutenant Bill Miller had some advice for those who did decide to enter the roadways – pay attention to cross streets and mile markers as a point of reference. That way, if you do have an accident, emergency responders will be able to locate you as soon as possible. Additionally, make sure you have a full tank of gas before you go out, as well as extra blankets, coats, and nonperishable snacks in the car. It is also important to make sure your cell phone has a full battery before you leave your home.

Winter weather causes thousands of accidents every year. How can you stay safe if you have to drive? Check out the following tips:

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Avoid using your parking brake when possible.
  • Do not use your cruise control in icy conditions.
  • Remember to steer in the direction you wish to travel.
  • Drive slowly in winter weather. It takes much longer to start and slow down in icy, snowy conditions.
  • Try not to stop, if possible. Try to slow down just enough to keep rolling until a light changes, for example.
  • Exercise extra caution on hills. Do not over-accelerate or apply your brakes as you are traveling uphill.
  • If you do become trapped in the snow, make sure that your exhaust pipe is not blocked to avoid dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning.

These measures will significantly improve your safety while driving in harsh wintry weather. Unfortunately, even the most cautious individuals may be involved in traffic collisions in icy weather. Rather than worry about the legal implications of such a claim, your focus should be on healing and recovering from your injuries. The personal injury attorneys at Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law have more than three decades of experience handling motor vehicle accident claims. Our attorneys offer a free consultation for your convenience. To schedule your free consultation to discuss your claim, call us at 615-890-1982 or contact us online.