January 13, 2022

What Should I Know about Winter Weather Car Accidents?

winter weather

Winter weather can provide an assortment of potential traffic dangers such as storms, snow, rain, fog, and icy roads. Although the summer is statistically more deadly for drivers, the wet-based hazards that can form on a roadway in winter create a risk for a car accident. To keep motorists safe, here is a list of helpful tips when you take the road this winter.    

Basic Winter Driving Tips

If you must drive under wintery conditions, you should monitor the winter advisory warnings: winter storm outlook, winter weather advisory, winter storm watch, and winter storm warning. These phases specify the vicinity of a storm, the severity of potential car accidents, and notify residents on precautions that should be employed in hazardous winter weather.

You should always have on hand an emergency case full of supplies in case of a crisis.  Additionally, add the following items to your safety supplies: jumper cables, blankets, ice scraper, kitty litter, a cell phone, and antifreeze. Also, many motorists feel safe with an all-wheel-drive system; however, they still need to be cautious traveling in treacherous conditions, as the risk of sliding when you apply your brakes goes up.  

Remove excess snow completely from your windshield before driving. Also, clear the hood, as snow from there can start to blow back onto your own windshield, or the car behind you, when you reach normal posted speed limits. In many states, including Pennsylvania, the law requires drivers to remove all snow from their vehicle.

Check your vehicle’s brakes, battery, lights, tires, and seat belts before proceeding on a long winter drive, along with bringing additional snow tires in the trunk in case of a blowout. Check the tread levels on your tires by locating the wear indicator, which is a raised section in between the treads. If the tire tread is worn down, it is time to replace the tires.

The exhaust pipe should be clear of excess snow because if the tailpipe is blocked, carbon monoxide can make it back into the car.

If your child is accompanying you, buckle them into car seats and seat belts without winter coats first and then tuck a blanket around them to keep them warm. You can lay their jackets on their laps or have them wear it backward because seat belts are meant to be snug against the body.

Winter Weather Driving Statistics

  • More than 70 percent of U.S. roads are in snowy areas that get over five inches of snowfall yearly. According to the Federal Highway Administration, snow and sleet make roads slicker and diminish visibility, increasing the risk of traffic accidents in these regions.
  • Roughly 70 percent of the American population resides in snowy regions, which can significantly obstruct driving. A large swath of the population has a higher risk of crashing their vehicle during the winter.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 17 percent of all car accidents happen in winter conditions. Motorists should prepare their cars for the unforgiving winter weather.
  • Icy Road Safety reported that 1,836 people die yearly because of snowy and icy pavement, which was data recorded over a decade from 2005 to 2014.
  • Approximately 156,164 collisions happen annually because of icy roads.
  • More than 1,300 people get killed in car accidents on snowy or icy roads every year, emphasizing the reason that drivers should proceed with caution in adverse weather conditions, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
  • More than 116,800 people get hurt in vehicle accidents on snowy or icy roads yearly. Slick pavements can cause motorists to lose control of their vehicles, resulting in a significant number of car accidents yearly, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
  • Annually, around 76,000 people are injured in traffic mishaps during snowfall. The Federal Highway Administration reported that over 800 individuals die in car accidents during snowfall or sleet.
  • Around 70 percent of accidental deaths that occur during winter happen in cars, with winter weather posing the biggest threat to travelers who utilize a car to get to their destination, according to The Zebra.
  • Roughly 800 Americans die in car accidents annually while driving in winter weather conditions, with USA Today reporting statistics for a time frame from 2011 to 2015 with car accidents usually caused by freezing rain, snow, sleet, or ice.

Pennsylvania Winter Weather Driving Statistics

Data compiled by the NHTSA, from 2011 and 2105, ranked the state among the top five deadliest states for ice and snow car accidents through the winter months.  Pennsylvania averaged 65 fatal car accidents during the winter, accounting for number three on the deadliest list behind Ohio and Michigan in the number of winter weather driving fatalities. The NHTSA found that main causes of winter car accidents included low visibility from heavy winter snow, sleet, rain, and fog; slippery conditions from black ice that cannot be seen; and lack of car maintenance such as severely worn tires, inadequate defroster fans, inoperative windshield wipers, and snow left on a vehicle that flies off and can hit another hit another vehicle causing an accident.

PennDOT Safety Guidelines

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) advises that if you are notified about incoming hazardous weather, it is best to avoid driving. That measure allows for PennDOT, counties, and municipalities time to clear pathways to make them drivable for your passage. If you do need to travel during hazardous winter weather conditions, please keep in mind the following:

  • Slow down and leave an adequate space between you and the car ahead of you based on the weather and traffic conditions on the roadway.
  • Do not attempt to stop or start suddenly.
  • If a road looks wet, that means it is either wet or icy.
  • Be cautious of bridges and ramps that freeze faster than roadways.

Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Advocate for Clients Involved in Winter Weather Car Accidents

Sustaining a personal injury from a winter car accident is significant and possibly overwhelming. The knowledgeable Montgomery County car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. will fight on your behalf as you concentrate on getting your life back on track. Call us at 267-861-7100 or visit our website to set up a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Norristown.