What to Do After Winter Car Accidents in Michigan

Winter car accidents in Michigan can be particularly dangerous compared to accidents in other times of the year because of the additional elements of cold and snow. These factors can create dangers for both injury victims and uninjured drivers and passengers that they would not experience in warmer weather.

In the winter there are additional steps drivers and passengers should take both in preparation in case of an accident and after an accident has occurred to ensure the safety of everyone involved. While Michigan no-fault insurance should cover treatment of injuries for everyone involved in a Michigan accident, no one wants to endure worse injuries than necessary. Taking the precautions outlined in this article by the Detroit auto accident attorneys at Sachs Waldman P.C. should help you avoid unnecessary injuries or complications should you be involved in a Michigan car accident in winter.

Advanced Preparedness for Winter Car Accidents in Michigan

Throughout the year it’s always a good idea to keep your car equipped with a first-aid kit, flashlight and cell phone with a well-charged battery in case of an accident. In winter months drivers should keep some additional supplies in the car to help cope with the cold and wet and situations in which help may not arrive immediately. This is especially true when travelling open stretches of highways and rural roads where police and medical crews may have to travel to reach you and shelter may not be easy to reach.

Additional items to keep in your car in case of winter car accidents in Michigan include wool blankets, plastic tarps, rubber boots or overshoes, and extra gloves and hats. It’s also good to have some bottled water and granola bars, beef jerky or some other food that is safe to keep stored for long periods in case your accident leaves you stranded along the road. It can also be a good idea to equip your car with several of the chemical-based warming packets used by hunters in case your car’s engine and/or heater is not operable after an accident. An electric heater that can be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter or run directly from the car battery may also be a good idea. Cold complicates injuries, can increase a person’s risk for shock, and lead to frostbite or similar injuries.

Steps to Take Following a Winter Car Accident

If you have a winter car accident in Michigan, your primary concern is safety. That means making sure help is on the way, attending to wounds if possible, and making sure everyone in your car is warm and dry and out of danger. The following steps are good to follow.

  1. Call for help immediately — Use a cell phone to call police immediately. Let them know where you are and whether anyone is injured. If no cell phone is available, send an uninjured person to find a phone and call in the accident. Make sure they know what highway or road you are on and the nearest intersection or mile marker.
  2. Determine the extent and severity of injuries and safety of the vehicle — Find out who is hurt and how badly. Use a first-aid kit to stop bleeding and cover cuts if possible. Determine whether the car’s engine is operable and whether it is safe to remain in the car. DO NOT move anyone with broken bones or other severe injuries, especially if the injury is to the back, neck or head until medical help arrives unless it is unsafe for them to remain where they are.
  3. Keep everyone warm and dry, especially injury victims — As long as it is safe to do so, remain in the car and run the engine just enough to keep warm. If there is snow on the ground, clear an area around the exhaust pipe and the sides of the car so exhaust can get clear of the car rather than rise up into the passenger compartment. It’s also good to keep the windows cracked just a bit when running the engine to let any fumes escape. If anyone is injured, cover them with a blanket or whatever is available to help prevent circulatory shock. 

    If it is not safe to remain in the car, find a nearby location where it is dry and people can be sheltered from wind and snow or rain. A plastic tarp can provide some shelter if you have one and blankets and extra coats should be used to keep everyone, especially injury victims warm. Don’t let people with inappropriate footwear walk around in snow or wet ground unnecessarily. Wet feet get cold fast and can lead to frost bite.

  4. If someone can do so without getting wet and cold or otherwise endangering their safety, they should take pictures of the accident scene and obtain contact information from other drivers, passengers and witnesses. This information can be used by your Michigan car accident attorney and crash investigators to determine what happened and who was at fault. DO NOT talk to anyone but the police and about what happened and the extent of injuries suffered by you or passengers in your car until you talk with your lawyer. If you are treated for injuries at a hospital, be sure to tell the treating physician about how your injuries occurred so there is a record connecting your injuries to the accident.

Taking these precautions and safety steps will drastically reduce unnecessary injuries and improve survivability for anyone involved in winter car accidents in Michigan. If you do end up in a winter car accident in Michigan and get injured, the Detroit personal injury firm of Sachs Waldman, P.C., can fight for you and help you obtain the insurance benefits and compensation for damages that you’re entitled to. We have nearly four decades of experience handling personal injury cases resulting from winter auto accidents in Michigan. Call our Detroit personal injury attorneys’ office at 1-800-638-6722 to schedule a free consultation.

Fill out our online form