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Expecting Wintry Roads on Spring Weekend

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety, Winter Hazards /

Expecting Wintry RoadsROCHESTER, N.Y. – After a week of warmer temperatures the region hadn’t seen in over a month, road crews are reaching for the snowplow keys once again.

This time, wintry weather is sweeping across the northeast bringing rain, snow and sleet, making roads extremely slippery heading into the weekend.

“Drivers might think they’d be used to it by now but this time of year poses different driving challenges in wintry weather around Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “That snow that melted can flash freeze into ice and the rain can wash away the chemicals crews used to pretreat the roads.”

The back and forth mixture of rain and snow make for some of the most dangerous road conditions. In the Great Lakes region, fog can further limit visibility for drivers and increase the likelihood of an accident.

“There’s a recorded spike in the number of accidents when the weather is anything but sunny,” Cellino said. “We’ve had several clients suffer head, neck and back injuries after a crash that happened in wintry springtime weather.”

Car accident lawyers advise all drivers and passengers inside vehicles to wear a seat belt this weekend. If a car or bus driver loses control, a seat belt improves the chance of avoiding serious injury. Drivers are also advised to be aware of other drivers, especially those behind them.

“Nearly one in every four accidents are caused by tailgaters,” Cellino said. “In this kind of weather, avoid those who are following you too closely.”

Drivers are advised to always travel in their designated highway lanes and to safely move over for faster traffic.

Snowbanks to Blame for Spike in Crashes

/ Car Accident, Winter Hazards /

Snowbanks to Blame for Spike in CrashesBUFFALO, N.Y. – Law enforcement has been busy this winter; not necessarily just enforcing the law but responding to traffic crashes as well. Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard reported a 35 percent increase in right-angle crashes this winter and many can be blamed on towering snowbanks.

“Drivers can’t see over these snowbanks at some intersections in Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “When a driver is turning right, they don’t have the same line of vision they would have during the summer.”

According to Buffalo’s TWC News, the problem is now being handled by the New York State Department of Transportation and county transportation crews. Even though temperatures are now reaching above freezing for the first time in over a month, authorities say the snowbanks are still too high in many areas.

“Buffalo, Rochester and surrounding areas are just now starting to thaw out,” Barnes said. “Even just a little bit of melting snow would’ve helped this winter and those areas just didn’t get it.”

Buffalo car crash attorneys suggest all drivers be a little more careful around intersections until the snow completely melts. For those stopped at a stop sign or turning right at a red light, authorities suggest stopping short then inch the vehicle forward into traffic to give a better line of sight. Other cars should still be on alert for vehicles hidden behind the snowbank at the next intersection.

Melting Point Makes for Icy and Dangerous Commute

/ Car Accident, Winter Hazards /

Icy and Dangerous CommuteROCHESTER, N.Y. – Whether you’re driving to work or walking to your neighborhood store, the sudden rise in temperatures is creating an extremely dangerous environment for anyone outside their homes.

Rochester NBC affiliate, WHEC reports chunks of ice fell from the Powers Building and others downtown and Rochester Police responded to several accidents Wednesday morning due to slick road conditions.

“You might look down because you’re worried about slipping on the ice but when you look up, you may wonder when an icicle is going to fall. This time of year is dangerous for anyone outside on the roads and sidewalks in northern cities like Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.

Just 32 miles outside Rochester, Route 63 was shut down due tractor-trailer crashes in the Genesee County town of Bethany.

The National Weather Service reported a wintry mix of drizzling rain and snow flurries in Western New York at the time of these accidents, making roads extremely icy.

“We get many calls this time of year because of the melting snow and refreezing ice,” Cellino said. “Studies have shown the best thing to do is stay inside.”

Forecasters expect the temperatures to drop into the teens and low twenties heading into the weekend but by Monday, temperatures could hit 40 degrees. With over 90 inches of snow for the season, Rochester has a long melt down ahead.

 

Ten Ways Winter Can Kill

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety, Winter Hazards /

Ten Ways Winter Can KillBUFFALO, NY- It’s late February and spring is nowhere in sight. Temperatures dropped below zero (Fahrenheit) once again in Western New York and weather-related accidents continue to inundate hospitals with patients. Here are ten ways winter is getting away with murder:

10. Snowblower accidents.

Each year, nearly 6,000 people are sent to emergency rooms with severe injuries, often leading to disfigurement. Although deaths are rare, personal injury attorneys say snowblowers can lead to expensive surgeries and life-altering amputations.

9. Sledding.

According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Oh., more than 20,000 people, usually children, are rushed to emergency rooms for injuries sustained while sledding. Up to one-third of sledding accidents lead to head injuries.

8. Icicles.

Icicles can form anywhere in sunlight or on top of homes with poor insulation. As heat rises in a home, it melts snow on the rooftop, which drips and forms a potentially dangerous icicle. The icy dangers can weigh hundreds of pounds and damage roofing. About 15 people die in America every year from falling icicles.

7. Winter Sports.

Whether it’s skiing, snowboarding or ice skating, more than 150,000 people are rushed to hospitals every winter after getting injured playing winter sports. Over 40 people died last year as a result of these recreational winter activities.

6. Snowmobile accidents.

Another dangerous recreational activity, snowmobiling claims around 200 lives every winter. It’s estimated another 14,000 snowmobilers are injured on the trails.

5. Carbon Monoxide.

Its nickname is the ‘silent killer’ and for good reason: 400 people die from CO poisoning each year. Accident attorneys say in the winter, it can be particularly deadly.

“People use gas a whole lot more during the winter in places like Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Tailpipes can get clogged with snow and ice and flood the cabin with this deadly gas.”

4. Falls

Of all the work-related accidents, falls are among the most dangerous. Over 800 people are killed every year after a fall at work, thousands more are injured. Ice adds to the risk.

3. Hypothermia & Frostbite.

Thousands of people suffer mild to severe frostbite each winter as a result of exposure to bitter-cold temperatures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1,500 deaths can be linked to hypothermia every winter.

2. Shoveling.

One of the most common practices in winter is snow removal. It’s also one of the deadliest. Since cold weather adds strain to the cardiovascular system, it’s estimated that nearly 2,000 people overexert themselves shoveling and die as a result of a heart attack. About 12,000 are treated for shoveling-related injuries.

1. Car Crashes.

Millions of drivers are on the snowy roads of America every day so it’s no surprise the number one winter killer is on four wheels. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates about 30 percent of all weather related car accidents are caused by snow and ice and with more distractions than ever, accident attorneys say drivers must pay attention on the roads and allow enough space for braking.

The Dangerous Cost of Salt

/ Car Accident, Winter Hazards /

The Dangerous Cost of SaltNEW YORK – A simple ionic compound can keep roads clear of snow and ice but at the same time, it’s taxing to vehicles, the environment and transportation authorities. Sodium chloride has hundreds of uses but one major application is de-icing and anti-icing roads with the use of road salt.

On average, a mid-size city in the northeast will spend approximately $1.5 million on salt every year, often buying over 30,000 tons of road salt for one winter season.

For larger areas like New York City, it’s a good deal. Impassible streets can cost the Big Apple up to $700 million, according to the American Highway Users Alliance .

“Road salt can reduce car crashes and injuries by up to 85 percent in New York,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Without salt, accident costs around the state could be astronomically high.”

State and local governments will spend about $2.3 billion battling snow and ice this winter but there are several drawbacks. Not only is road salt an expensive venture; it’s also taxing on the environment and the people it’s used to protect.

“Salt can be a car killer,” Barnes said. “Auto manufacturers already have several open recalls on vehicles for salt-related issues.”

According to Nissan North America, road salt could make your vehicle a potential fire hazard. The car company recalled nearly 650,000 vehicles because “a mixture of snow, water and salt can cause an electric short to occur,” leading to connector damage and it could cause “a thermal incident.”

Other car makers reported salt was the main cause behind corroded wiring. Last year, Subaru recalled 670,000 cars due to salt-related issues which may have contributed to ineffective brake lines.

“If something doesn’t seem right with your car, get it checked out,” Barnes said. “Especially in the winter, the salt can do a lot of damage to your vehicle and make driving unsafe at times.”

To see if your vehicle has an open recall, click here.

Snowplows: A Necessary Danger on Roads

/ Car Accident, Winter Hazards /

Necessary Danger on RoadsROCHESTER, N.Y. – The snow continues to accumulate across Western and Central New York with another three to seven inches expected through the workweek. Snowplows are already working overtime, salting roadways to prevent ice from forming.

The plows keep roads clear in the worst conditions, a necessary safety precaution for any major city. However, plows can also be very dangerous.

“These are giant vehicles made specifically for clearing snow in places like Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Unfortunately, if there’s an accident involving a car and a snowplow, the car usually doesn’t stand much of a chance.”

Every year, New York State records dozens of accidents with snowplows. Rochester ABC affiliate WHAM reports one driver was killed after colliding with a snowplow Friday morning.

On Wednesday, a woman riding her bike in Virginia was struck and killed by a snowplow. The crash was ruled ‘weather-related’ and remains under investigation.

“Whenever you’re around a large truck, it’s good practice to give them space,” Cellino said. “The bigger the vehicle, the larger the blind spots and weather is sometimes a factor as well.”

Snowplows are often pushing thousands of pounds of snow in windy storms, which can create a white-out effect. The snow removal keeps the roads in a safer condition for drivers but car accident attorneys say drivers always need to be careful around plows.

Rochester car accident attorneys say drive slowly, keep a safe distance, and pull over for a few minutes if blustery conditions continue.

Record Breaking Cold Causing Breakdowns

/ Car Accident, Winter Hazards /

Cold Causing BreakdownsBUFFALO, N.Y. – The week began by breaking a 111-year-old record for coldest temperature in Western New York. The -10 degree reading taken at the Buffalo-Niagara International airport set a new record, breaking the previous record of -8 set in 1904.

Colder temperatures were recorded outside of Buffalo. In Dunkirk, New York, it hit minus 27. One of the coldest temperatures in the state hit negative 36 in Watertown.

“These cold temperatures can be deadly in the city of Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “The frigid temperatures can cause power outages, workplace accidents and car crashes.”

Power outages affected hundreds of homes in Southern Erie County and dozens of car accidents were reported throughout the day on Monday.

“Water can freeze within minutes,” Cellino said. “These temperatures can sometimes turn a regular city street into a bowling alley for your morning commute.”

Car batteries are often a struggle for drivers in subzero temperatures. Over the weekend, AAA reported drivers were facing up to a 12 hour wait for services in Western New York due to the demand for help.

The best option for drivers is to stay inside during the arctic chill. However if you must leave the house, provide yourself ample time in case of a dead battery, traffic backups and always use caution on the roadways.

Hospitals Prepare for More Patients in Subzero Temperatures

/ Winter Hazards /

Subzero TemperaturesBUFFALO, N.Y. – As the mercury dips below zero, hospitals across New York are preparing for more patient arrivals. The lower temperatures increase the risk of frostbite and hypothermia but some physicians are already seeing a spike in winter weather-related injuries.

According to Catholic Health in Buffalo, doctors are getting more patients with snow blower, slip and fall injuries and chest pain.

In colder temperatures, doctors say the cardiovascular system gets slightly constricted which can often lead to heart attacks and overexertion. For those working outside, there’s also an extreme risk for conditions like frostbite, which occurs when the skin is exposed to extreme cold for too long.

“There’s a wind chill watch in more than 30 New York counties,” construction accident attorney, Steve Barnes said. “In those conditions, it only takes 30 minutes to develop signs of frostbite.”

Doctors suggest covering as much skin as possible with a layer of clothing to avoid exposure to the elements.

The cold weather can also impact the surroundings, making your daily routine much more hazardous.

“The extreme cold can increase the risk for a slip and fall, a car accident, construction accident, you name it,” Barnes said. “Water pipes may have a tendency to burst in this weather and that can create a messy and dangerous situation.”

Water can freeze in just minutes, depending on the surface type and location. Doctors and car accident lawyers suggest staying in a warm area, if possible. Otherwise, using sound judgment and wearing layers of clothing during a deep freeze can decrease your risk of injury.

New York State of Snow

/ Car Accident, Winter Hazards /

New York State of SnowNEW YORK – Drivers have had enough of the snow and ice for one season but the Empire State continues to get slammed by winter storms and the costs are adding up.

State and local agencies are already on pace to spend more than $2 billion battling snow and ice on the roads. Delays are costing trucking companies anywhere between $2 billion and $4 billion and insurance companies are estimated to fork out nearly $1 billion in losses due to winter weather.

“Battling winter weather isn’t just expensive for local governments; crash victims are rushed to emergency rooms with life-changing injuries and sometimes, unfortunately, the weather can cost a life in places like Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.

New York State Police shut down Interstate 81 last week north of Syracuse due to an enormous pileup of more than 30 cars and trucks. One driver took a video to Facebook following the crash.

ax2“I’m alright, I got a little scratch on my finger but that’s it,” Ian Wagner said in the video.

In Buffalo, more crashes caused delays on highways and surface streets. One man, driving on I-290, took photos of a jackknifed tractor trailer that blocked several lanes of traffic and an SUV that rolled over into the median.

In New York and across the Hudson River valley, snow and icy conditions were responsible for dozens of car accidents, including one that took out a Long Island power pole.

“It’s a war zone in this weather,” Cellino said. “You can be the safest driver in the world but when the snow hits the pavement, it’s suddenly a different world.”

Buffalo car accident lawyers suggest staying off the roads, if possible. If travel can’t be avoided, drivers are urged to drive slowly and carefully, leaving enough time to make it to their destination safely.

Blowing Snow, Flurries Continue to Cause Accidents

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety, Winter Hazards /

Blowing SnowROCHESTER, N.Y. – At any given time, there can be a dozen car accidents on city streets and along major highways. In New York State, those calls often jump in blustery winter weather.

In Monroe County alone, over a dozen calls were made to 911 on Friday at any given time of day to report a car crash.

Although roads and highway crews keep plowing, roads can be slick due to blowing snow. The heavy winds also made visibility a problem for drivers.

“One of the common responses you hear after a crash is ‘I didn’t see the other car.’ Blowing snow is a real problem for drivers but it’s not an excuse, they still need to be responsible and adjust to the conditions in Rochester,” car accident lawyer, Steve Barnes said.

rochestersnowForecasters expect more flurries throughout the weekend, adding to the adverse driving conditions. A Rochester attorney says city and highway driving will be particularly dangerous.

“One moment it can be clear with a light breeze, we’ve all seen it before,” Barnes said. “The next moment, the driver encounters near white-out conditions and there’s just not a lot of time to adjust.”

Rochester car accident attorneys say weather can be a dominating factor in many crashes but a driver is usually still held liable for his or her actions. He says it’s extremely important to adjust the speed and distance between cars when driving in winter’s hazards.

Client Thanks

I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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