Every year, thousands of accidents are caused by adverse weather conditions. One study determined over 800 people annually are killed due to winter weather.
The winter months signify one of the most dangerous times of the year for people on the roads in Missouri and across the country. Motorists face numerous dangers during this period, including poor weather conditions and careless drivers. According to the United States Federal Highway Administration, more than 1,300,000 car accidents every year are caused by weather conditions – many of which occur during the fall and winter months. Reportedly, adverse weather is cited as a contributing factor in 23 percent of all car collisions.
Winter weather conditions cause majority of weather-related fatalities
In a study conducted last year by a University of Georgia researcher, it was determined that at least 800 people are killed in accidents every year due to winter weather conditions, including freezing rain, sleet and snow. Deadly accidents in the winter have been shown to occur more often in uncongested or rural areas. This is possibly due to faster speed limits and greater accumulation of snow in those areas, as well as more people using public transportation in urban areas.
Common winter traffic dangers
According to Esurance, icy roads contribute even more to motor vehicle crashes, after a snowstorm or during freezing weather. This is especially true when black ice forms. Black ice is an extremely slick form of ice that is usually difficult for drivers to see on the roads. It may appear as wet pavement or be almost invisible. Dangerous ice often forms on bridges, shady areas or overpasses.
How can drivers lower their chances of getting into a weather-related crash? The following points may help:
- Drivers should reduce their speed during unsafe weather conditions.
- It is important to give other vehicles plenty of room when roads are wet or slippery, or when visibility is reduced.
- High beams should not be used in heavy fog, because they will increase glare.
- Drivers should not slam on their brakes if the car slides on ice, but should ease off the gas pedal and stay calm.
A recent accident in Monroe City illustrated the dangers of winter driving. According to KY3 News, in early January a driver lost control on U.S. Highway 24. The vehicle spun on the icy road, colliding with an oncoming car. A passenger in the first car was killed, while both drivers were injured, as well as a 3-year-old child.