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5 Dangers That May Still Be Lurking on Treated and Plowed Roads During Winter

Wisconsin is no stranger to harsh winter weather, with snow and ice covering the ground from late November to early April. However, local and state road workers are well-prepared to tackle these challenging conditions, ensuring the safety of motorists by treating and plowing the roads regularly.

Despite these precautions, winter roads can still harbor hidden dangers like black ice, potholes, and debris, even when treated. Learn about these dangers and how our Appleton auto accident lawyer at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can assist you after a crash.

Wisconsin Winter Road Preparations

Wisconsin winters can be unforgiving, with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures making road conditions treacherous. To combat the challenges of winter weather, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) collaborates with 72 county highway departments to manage snow and ice on state and US-numbered highways, including the interstate system.

WisDOT relies on a network of 754 county-operated snowplow routes to ensure efficient and effective clearing of roads. These road crews use salt treatment and liquid brine application for anti-icing and de-icing for enhanced road safety.

WisDOT also releases educational resources and easy-to-read graphics to educate residents about winter driving safety. This also includes how-to information for preparing your vehicle for winter and adjusting driving habits to challenging road conditions.

Hidden Dangers of Winter Roads in Wisconsin

While road crew efforts help prevent accidents every winter in Wisconsin, treated and plowed roads are not 100% safe. They often contain hidden dangers for drivers, such as:

  • Black ice: Black ice, a thin, nearly invisible layer of ice on the road, can be one of the most treacherous winter hazards. Even when roads have been treated, black ice can form due to fluctuating temperatures. Drivers may not realize they are driving on black ice until too late, leading to loss of control and accidents.
  • Potholes: Winter weather can wreak havoc on road surfaces, causing potholes to form when moisture melts and refreezes. These road craters can damage vehicles, cause flat tires, and lead to accidents when drivers swerve to avoid them.
  • Hidden debris: Snowplows and other vehicles can inadvertently push debris, such as rocks, branches, or debris from accidents, beneath the snow on the road. Drivers might not see these hazards until too late, resulting in dangerous situations.
  • Drop-offs and ditches: Heavy snowfall can obscure the edges of the road, making it difficult to discern where the pavement ends and ditches or drop-offs begin. Venturing off the road can lead to accidents and potentially life-threatening injuries.
  • Careless or reckless drivers: Some drivers may become overconfident in the safety of treated and plowed roads, leading them to drive too fast for the conditions. This overconfidence can result in accidents, as icy patches or other hazards can still be present.

Your Rights After a Winter-Weather Crash

In the event of an accident on Wisconsin’s roads due to winter weather, knowing your rights can help you receive compensation after a crash. Wisconsin operates under a tort system for auto accidents, meaning that the driver at fault for causing the collision is responsible for the damages. This includes accidents influenced by winter conditions like snow and ice.

If another driver’s negligence contributed to the accident – for instance, by not driving appropriately for the conditions or not properly maintaining their vehicle – you may have the right to claim compensation for damages. Filing a claim with their liability insurance may cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers for help protecting your rights after a collision. We can determine the cause of your accident and gather crucial evidence such as traffic camera footage, weather condition reports, and witness testimonies. This can help us file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance and build a strong case to secure a fair settlement for your injuries.

Seek Help After a Winter-Related Accident in Wisconsin

Even though road crews in Wisconsin are diligent in treating and plowing during winter, drivers must still exercise caution when driving in inclement conditions. When another driver acts recklessly and causes a crash, they can be liable for damages.

If you’re involved in a winter-weather-related crash, our dedicated attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Reach out to us today to discuss your case and explore your legal options in a free initial consultation.

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