Winter is one of the most dangerous times of the year to drive. Adverse weather reportedly causes thousands of accidents each year.
For many New York residents, winter means icy weather and poor road conditions. Factor in the added travel during the holiday season, and motorists across the state can face serious accidents in the upcoming months. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,039 people in New York were killed in accidents in 2014. With the dangers of winter driving each year, it’s understood that some of these crashes were the result of adverse weather conditions.
Poor weather, in fact, is responsible for 23 percent of all car crashes, states the United States Federal Highway Administration. Factors such as snow, ice, fog, rain and wind contribute to almost 1,312,000 accidents across the country each year. More than 480,000 people are injured and about 6,250 are killed in accidents attributed to weather every year.
Out of all the dangers that motorists face on the road this winter, ice is the deadliest by far, states Insurance. Black ice is particularly hazardous. This type of ice forms on the road as a thin layer, usually at night or during the early morning, and often doesn’t look like ice. Instead, the pavement can appear wet or shadowy, and matte rather than glossy. Black ice is extremely slick and drivers may not notice its presence until they find themselves sliding out of control.
Dangers from other drivers
It is vital for drivers to understand how to safely navigate wet or icy roads, especially when it comes to using all-season tires or all-wheel drive. According to AccuWeather, the following points address some of the misconceptions drivers tend to have:
• All-season tires can harden in cold temperatures and don’t have as much grip or pliability as winter tires.
• All-wheel drive may add to a vehicle’s control on slippery roads, but does not substitute for slower, more careful driving.
• Under-inflating tires in the winter does not increase a vehicle’s grip on the road, and instead can damage tires and decrease safety and performance.
There are a number of precautions drivers should take during the winter to reduce their chances of being in an accident. When it’s raining or snowing, or when the roads are wet or icy, drivers should slow down and give other vehicles plenty of space. Cruise control should not be used on icy or slushy roads. In heavy fog, low beams should be turned on instead of brights. If drivers feel themselves losing control on a slippery road, they should not slam on their brakes, but should ease off the gas, keep the steering wheel steady and calmly attempt to regain control of the vehicle.
Despite the most careful precautions, it is not always possible to prevent someone else from carelessly or recklessly causing an accident in poor weather. People who have been injured by someone else should contact an experienced New York personal injury attorney.