Staying Safe During Winter Weather
I’m Ed Smith, an Arden-Arcade Injury Lawyer. Most of us are well aware that the winter season is one of the most hazardous times to get behind the wheel. Since winter is a time of excessive snow, ice, hail, rain, and blizzards, the risk of a weather-related accident during the winter can be higher than any other season.
Facts from the Federal Highway Administration
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a United States governmental agency that overlooks the preservation, construction and maintenance of bridges, tunnels and highways throughout the nation. The FHWA is also in charge of investigating and researching roadways to provide information to local and state agencies as an effort to secure livability, mobility and safety. The FHWA has released the following information to the public regarding winter driving:
- 70% of the roads in America are in regions which typically see over five inches of snow per year.
- Almost 70% of people in the United States live in snowy regions. This can be an explanation for the higher rate of motor vehicle accidents during the winter.
- Almost one quarter of weather-related crashes happen along ice-filled, slushy and snowy roads.
- There are more than 1,300 deaths and 116,800 injuries annually on roads covered in ice, slush, or snow.
- Approximately 15% of weather-related accidents happen during sleet and snowfall.
- The average car speed along arterial roads covered in slush or snow decreases roughly from 30% to 40%.
- The average car speed on freeways decreases anywhere from 3% to 13% during light snow weather, and by 5% to 40% in heavier snow periods.
Reasons that Accident Rates Increase During Winter
Auto accidents increase during the winter season for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Lower rates of vehicle maintenance: Prior to the beginning of winter, many people do not take the time to get a general check-up on their car. During winter, the amount of auto accidents that happen due to bald tires increase. Tires that have poor treads cannot successfully grip wet and icy roads, making them extremely susceptible to slips and skids.
- Slush and ice-filled roads: Car wheels lose their traction along damp and slippery roads. As a result, simple tasks such as accelerating, braking, and making turns becomes more difficult.
- Low visibility: Thick and heavy snowfall can block a driver’s view of the road. Additionally, thick fog can descend to ground-level, restricting a driver’s view to a only a few feet ahead.
Avoiding Weather-Related Accidents in Winter
Inclement weather conditions may be both dangerous and frightening for automobile travel. Drivers should exercise due care before and while operating a motor vehicle in adverse weather. Tips for safe winter driving include the following:
- Give the car a full inspection to make sure that it is prepared for winter. This can be done by checking the battery, installing new windshield wiper blades, refilling windshield wiper fluid, checking tire pressure, replacing any bald tires, changing the engine oil, checking the anti-freeze mixture, and checking the hoses and belts.
- Take your time and avoid speeding when you are approaching a snowy or icy road, and give your car ample time to stop while riding on a slippery pavement.
- Always turn your lights on when you are driving amidst rain, fog, snowstorms, or any other low visibility condition.
- Do not make the mistake of slamming on your brakes in snow, slush, or ice. If your car is installed with anti-lock brakes (ABS), apply a gradual and steady amount of pressure. If your car does not includes ABS, occasionally pump your brakes to avoid any skidding.
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Arden-Arcade Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, an Arden-Arcade Injury Lawyer. If you have ever suffered serious injuries from an auto accident, you are welcome to call me at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. Online consultations are also an option, simply fill out my contact form at AutoAccident.com.
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