Here in southern Missouri, we've already had our fair share of snow and ice this season - and winter isn't over just yet. In this post, our Springfield personal injury lawyers discuss the facts about car accidents and winter weather, and review a few useful tips to help you travel safe.
Car accidents and inclement weather: Facts and statistics
• According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), driving when the weather is bad increases your risk of being involved in a crash. Poor weather directly affects several aspects of driving, including driver capabilities, vehicle performance, pavement friction and traffic flow.
• Annually, of all car accidents that happen nationwide, an estimated 24% (over 1.5 million crashes) are weather-related, meaning they "occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, and/or fog) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet pavement, snowy/slushy pavement, or icy pavement)."
• Weather-related accidents cause an average 7,130 deaths and over 629,000 injuries every year.
Taking precautions in winter weather: Tips to help you stay safe when driving in snow and ice
• Prepare - and double check - your vehicle before hitting the road. In particular, you'll want to make sure your battery is fully charged, your heating system is functioning properly, and your tires are in good condition (check air pressure and tread depth). It's also a good idea to fill up your gas tank and get an oil change if you have to travel a long distance.
• Carry an emergency travel kit, just in case. Being prepared for the worst can be life-saving, especially when the weather is bad. Be sure you pack an ice scraper, blankets, jumper cables, bottled water and non-perishable food items. And be sure you have appropriate clothing in case you have to deal with the elements.
• Buckle up. Wearing your seat belt is the easiest, most surefire way to reduce your risk of being injured in a crash - and that's true in all kinds of weather. Fasten that belt, and likewise, make sure your passengers are properly restrained - especially if you have young children on board.