Winter Weather and Car Accidents
WLF Car Accident Lawyers Gives Safety Tips
Both common sense and statistics indicate that winter months are the most dangerous time to be on the road in America. Because of all the snow, ice, rain, slush and blizzards, more car accidents occur in winter than in any other time of the years. Here are some hard facts obtained from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA):
- Over 70% of the roads in the United States are located in regions that receive more than five inches of snow annually.
- Nearly 70% of Americans live in snowy regions. This explains why there are more car accidents in winter.
- About 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy roads.
- Over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 are injured each year in motor vehicle crashed on snowy, icy or slushy roads annually.
- About 15% of weather-related motor vehicle crashes occur during snowfall and sleet.
- Nearly 900 people are killed and 76,000 injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet each year.
- Average vehicle speeds on freeways decrease by 3 to 13% in light snow and by 5 to 40% in heavy snow.
- Average vehicle speeds on arterial roads decrease by 30 to 40% on snowy and slushy roads.
- Road maintenance in winter accounts for roughly 20% of the annual maintenance budget of the state Department of Transportation (DoT).
Causes of car accidents in winter
The major causes of car accidents in winter are icy or slushy roads, poor visibility and poor vehicle maintenance.
- Icy and slushy roads: Most winter crashes occur on icy or slushy roads. Ice and slush make the road slippery, causing the wheels to lose traction. This makes braking, accelerating, turning and reversing more difficult. Driver who believe that they can beat the forces of nature are often the ones to crash their cars and get injured or killed.
- Poor visibility: When there is thick snowfall, this can block the driver’s view. Sometimes, thick fog descends on the road, making it impossible to see more than a few feet ahead. If you are not extra careful, you can easily go off the road or rear-end another car. Some people insist on pressing ahead during a blizzard, which often leads to disaster.
- Poor vehicle maintenance: Many people neglect to take their car for a general check-up before the start of winter. One of the most common maintenance-related causes of car accidents in winter is bald tires. Tires with worn out treads are ineffective at gripping the road, which makes them highly susceptible to slipping and skidding.
How to avoid accidents in winter
Here are some useful tips to avoid accidents in winter:
- Have your car winterized before winter starts. This means checking your battery, changing wiper blades and refilling wiper fluid, checking and adjusting tire pressure, replacing bald tires, checking the anti-freeze mixture, changing oil and adjusting viscosity, checking belts and hoses, getting snow tires if necessary, and stocking the car with emergency supplies.
- Slow down on snowy and icy roads and allow your car plenty of room to stop on slippery pavement.
- Turn on your lights during a snowstorm, rain, fog and in other low visibility conditions.
- Never slam on the brakes on snow, ice and slush. If your car has anti-lock brakes, make sure to apply the pressure steadily. If your car doesn’t have anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes to avoid skidding.
Car accidents can and do happen despite every precaution you may take. Quite often, it is caused by a careless or reckless driver. If you have been injured in a crash, contact an experienced car accident lawyer to explore your legal options.
Our lawyers have decades of experience in providing excellent results in these areas of practice.