If you’re reading this blog, there is a good chance you live in an area that has the dreaded annual phenomena known as winter. Maybe you like winter, maybe you’re not a fan. Either way, we can all agree that winter causes a lot of driving hazards.
According to the Department of Highways, nearly 1,259,000 weather-related accidents occur each year. Further, almost 6,000 lives are lost each year to weather-related accidents. This is a big issue facing motorists in North America. Why are so many deaths a result of winter driving?
Before we get into the detailed reasons why, know that the Department of Transportation (DOT) places snow, rain, ice, and fog under the heading of bad weather—not just snow. However, for the purposes of this blog, we will be focusing on why people wreck so often in snowy conditions.
- Speed. No, not the hit 1994 thriller starring Sandra Bullock, but rather excessive speed in snowy conditions. Speed is one of the biggest reasons individuals wreck in snowy conditions. Most experts agree that drivers should reduce their speed while driving on snow-covered roads. But, we’ve all seen the person on the interstate traveling 20 MPH above the speed limit in three inches of snow. There’s a good chance that person will eventually lose control and wreck his/her car. But they aren’t the only ones to blame. Even if you drive the posted speed limit in less than ideal conditions, you may be putting yourself and others at risk. One of the most common types of accidents involves a rear-end collision when the 2nd driver was following too close, and could not stop in time.
- Poor tires. Tires are much more important to the safety of your car then you may realize. This isn’t just true in winter, but all driving conditions regardless of the season. Let’s face it, tires are expensive, and they are easy to leave on well after they’re worn. Bald tires in the winter can cause a lot of issues. Canada and certain parts of Europe require drivers to use dedicated snow tires. In the United States, we don’t have any rules regulating tires for winter. So, a lot of people continue to drive in snow on bald tires or tires that weren’t designed for snow.
- Cruise Control. Once again, not a thriller starring Sandra Bullock, but rather the driving aid found on most modern cars. Using your cruise control may cause you to have an accident in bad weather. A lot of people drive on the interstate during winter. Traditionally interstates are the first roadways cleared by workers. While the roadway may be clear of snow, it does not mean that the road is dry. It may still be wet or even icy. If so, using cruise control in a situation like this may cause your car to hydroplane or spin out.
- Driving when you shouldn’t. We all get cabin fever. But too often motorists ignore warnings and venture out when they shouldn’t. This causes so many issues. No car is invincible. Even the best all-wheel-drive system can be taken down by snow. So, if local officials have advised to stay off roads unless it’s emergency, it’s probably a good idea to stay
Even if you’re a careful driver, the negligence of others can really cost you. Your insurance rates aren’t just dependent upon your driving record. The negligence of others will cause your rates to go up too. Also, what may seem like a minor fender bender can lead to painful injuries. If you’ve been hurt by a driver who was negligent in the snow or other bad weather, give us a call today for a free consultation from our Experienced Personal Injury lawyers. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. Or fill out this form so we can call you at a better time.