Not only does severe weather make road conditions worse, it also affects your vehicle’s performance, as well as your driving abilities. For one, pavement friction is poor because your tires can’t get a good grip on the road, road obstruction can happen unexpectedly and cars are likely to drive slower. All of these will delay your travel time. That’s why you should allow more time to get to your destination.
Heavy rain, for instance, can cause speed to decrease by 3 to 16%. In light rain or snow, speed on freeways can go down by 3 to 16%. However, heavy snow can decrease speed on freeways by 5 to 40%. Also, freeway capacity is reduced by 12 to 27% in heavy snow, while light snow can lower flow rates by 5 to 10%.
Weather-related crash statistics
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 23% or almost 1,312,000 of the 5,870,000 crashes each year are weather-related. This means an average of 6,250 people are killed and more than 480,000 are injured from weather-related crashes. The majority of these crashes occur on wet pavement and during rainfall with an annual average of 245,446 injuries and 2,876 fatalities. Still, the annual crash average of 769 fatalities in snow or sleet-related crashes and 580 fatalities due to icy pavement cannot be taken lightly.
Staying safe on ice
There’s no question icy roads make driving a lot harder than it actually is on a regular day. So, when possible, Public Safety Director Paul Maynard recommends staying at home and monitoring the weather forecast. Wait for the weather or roads to get better before you head to your destination for the day.
For those who cannot afford to stay at home, drive slowly on icy roads. This can help you stay in control of your vehicle. Do this even if you’re used to driving in snow. Driving fast on icy roads may only lead to an accident, so can overconfidence in your car’s abilities. Officials also suggest having an emergency kit in your car, along with blankets, just in case something unexpected happens. Also, don’t forget to wear your seat belt. Minor injuries or deadly crashes are, at an alarming rate, related to not wearing seat belts.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I would also like to suggest staying at home when the weather is severe. Icy roads are inconvenient, but there is nothing more inconvenient than being involved in an accident. Let’s always put safety first and always drive with caution.