Wise driving habits may reduce risk of winter crashes

Adverse weather causes thousands of traffic injuries and deaths each year. Reducing speed and driving carefully may reduce the risk of a crash.

Many people in Oklahoma, as well as across the country, are making travel plans for the upcoming holiday season. However, sudden winter weather may complicate the roads. Whether the plan is to drive out of state or across town, it is important to understand the risks of adverse weather, as well as how to drive safely when the roads are not safe.

How serious are adverse weather conditions in traffic?

Poor weather plays a significant part in car crashes across the United States. According to the Federal Highway Administration, about 23 percent of all collisions are caused by bad weather, equaling nearly 1,312,000 accidents every year. Each year, approximately 6,250 people are killed and 480,000 injuries are caused due to weather conditions.

What are the driving risks of winter weather in Oklahoma?

Esurance states that the top causes of weather-related crashes are ice and slippery roads. Additional winter hazards may include the following:

  • Rain or sleet
  • Blizzard whiteouts
  • Fog
  • Strong gusts of wind

Black ice is one of the deadliest conditions a driver might encounter on the road. This thin sheet of ice is especially slippery, but also extremely difficult for drivers to notice, particularly at night.

How can drivers prevent weather-related accidents?

Not every accident is possible to avoid, but drivers can greatly reduce their chances of causing someone to be injured or killed in an accident in the winter by adhering to safe driving habits. It is especially important to reduce speed when the roads are slippery or visibility is reduced. Drivers should give other vehicles plenty of space, especially when following. This may allow others the time and room to safely stop or change lanes. When encountering ice on the road, it is crucial to remember not to slam on the brakes. Instead, a driver should remove his or her foot from the gas and calmly steer to attempt to regain control of the vehicle. Hitting the brakes will only make a skid worse. It may also be a good idea to leave 10 to 15 minutes early if the weather is poor, for extra time to take it slow on the roads. If possible, people might want to stay home in serious weather conditions.

Driving defensively may prevent accidents, but cannot stop other people from making poor decisions on the road. Those who were injured in an accident may wish to speak with an experienced Edmond personal injury attorney about their compensation options, which may include taking the responsible party to court.