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Weather Related Car Accidents

Each year in the United States, the weather is a factor in more than 1,300,000 accidents, which make up 23% of all motor vehicle accidents.

Rain, snow, ice, and fog often create unsafe road conditions for drivers in Missouri. When a car is going too fast the driver may not have enough time to stop on a slippery road surface and may cause an automobile accident.

Weather-Related Accident Statistics

Each year in the United States, the weather is a factor in more than 1,300,000 accidents. Many of these accidents were caused by drivers that failed to use caution while driving in bad weather conditions. According to the U.S Department of Transportation, 23% of all accidents are weather-related. The weather-related accident breakdown is as follows:

  • Wet Pavement – 17% of crashes, 16% of injuries, 13% of fatalities
  • Rain – 11% of crashes, 10% of injuries, 8% of fatalities
  • Snow/Sleet – 4% of crashes, 3% of injuries, 2% fatalities
  • Ice – 3% of crashes, 2% of injuries, 2% fatalities
  • Snow/Slush – 3% of crashes, 2% of injuries, 2% fatalities
  • Fog – 1% of crashes, 1% of injuries, 2% fatalities

While no amount of money can compensate for living with serious injuries or the death of a loved one, it can help alleviate many of the day-to-day problems that an injured person or their family members face. There are often many financial hardships associated with car accident victims such as medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, physical therapy, and other future medical costs.

Types of Bad Weather That Affect Road Safety

Missouri experiences a variety of weather conditions including thunderstorms, rain, and snow. A simple rain shower can cause a car to hydroplane, leading to a serious car accident. Some of the common types of weather conditions that can affect road safety include:

  • thunderstorms and lightning
  • rain showers
  • flooding
  • high winds
  • hurricanes
  • snow and ice
  • tornadoes
  • hail

Bad weather is known to cause serious car accidents; if there is a weather alert in the area, it is prudent to stay off the road.  Most weather-related accidents are caused due to wet roads and low visibility.

Causes of Weather-Related Car Accidents

According to statistics, in 2011 more than 2,300 fatal car crashes occurred during rain and around 650 occurred in sleet or snow. Many drivers do not consider rain and snow to be a dangerous condition; however, the reality is that it adversely affects road conditions and you should alter your driving habits accordingly. Bad weather conditions such as floods, fog, severe winds, and rains can affect drivers in different ways and cause a weather-related car accident:

  • poor lighting conditions
  • poor visibility
  • increased risk of accident
  • lane obstructions
  • flooded lanes
  • reduced tire grip on the pavement
  • reduced speeds
  • reduced street capacity
  • delayed travel time
  • poor vehicle performance
  • changed traffic patterns
  • evacuation traffic
  • restricted roads and detours
  • road surface treatments
  • nervousness and distraction

Driving in hazardous conditions requires preparation and smart driving.

At times, for one reason or another, we may have to drive in hazardous conditions. While you may immediately think about driving in a blizzard, even light precipitation mixed with oils on the road may hinder a drivers ability to control his or her vehicle. Especially with winter approaching quickly, it is important to consider how to drive safely in hazardous conditions.

Be Prepared

Whether you are expecting to be driving in hazardous conditions or not, it is a good idea to be prepared. Consider what you will need in case of an emergency. Having a basic first-aid kit in the car is a good idea, regardless of road conditions.

You may consider where and in what conditions you will be driving in.

For example, if you are driving through snow, you would want to consider packing clothes or blankets that would keep you and your passengers warm, in case your vehicle were to break down. If you are driving in extreme heat, you will want to make sure there is enough water for everyone. Additionally, no matter what the conditions, having a charged mobile phone will help you receive assistance more quickly.

Winter Car Emergency Kit: Items to Keep in Your Car

Do you have a winter car emergency kit? If not, you should seriously consider putting one together. A winter car emergency kit can help you stay safe and warm in an emergency while driving in the cold weather. So, whether you’re heading out into the snow for a holiday ski trip or just braving the cold winter weather to get to work, be prepared for any possible emergency with a well-stocked winter car emergency kit!

Here are the items that you should include in your winter car emergency kit:

  1. A First-Aid Kit: This is essential for any emergency, but it’s especially important in the winter when you’re more likely to be dealing with cuts and scrapes from ice and snow.
  2. A Flashlight: A flashlight can be used to signal for help or to see your way around in the dark.
  3. A Shovel: A shovel can be used to dig your car out if it gets stuck in the snow.
  4. A Bag of Sand or Kitty Litter: This can be used to help give your tires traction if you get stuck.
  5. Extra Blankets and Warm Clothes: These can be used to keep you warm if you get stranded in your car.
  6. A Cellphone Charger: This is essential for calling for help if you need it.
  7. Water and Non-Perishable Snacks: These are important for keeping your energy up while you wait for help to arrive.
  8. A Fire Extinguisher: This can be used to put out any fires that may start in your car.
  9. A Whistle: This can be used to signal for help if you’re stuck in a remote location.
  10. Jumper Cables: These can be used to jump-start your car if the battery dies.
  11. A Flare: This can be used to signal for help if you’re stranded on the side of the road.
  12. A Map: This can help you find your way if you get lost.
  13. Tire Chains: These can be used to help your tires get traction in the snow.
  14. A Bag of Salt: This can be used to melt ice on your windshield or to give your tires traction.
  15. A Tow Rope: This can be used to tow your car out of a ditch or other difficult situation.
  16. A Multi-Tool: This can be used for various tasks, such as opening cans of food or fixing a broken fan belt.
  17. A Car Battery Charger: This can be used to charge your car battery if it dies.
  18. A Gas Can: This can be used to fill up your tank if you run out of gas.

Now that you know what to include in your winter car emergency kit and how to put it together, you’ll be prepared for anything the cold weather may throw your way! Luckily, putting together a winter car emergency kit is relatively simple and doesn’t have to be expensive.

Stay Attentive

No matter what road conditions are like, it is essential for a driver to give the road their full, undivided attention. This becomes even more vital when driving in hazardous conditions.

A driver should never allow outside conditions to disrupt their attention. If you are uncomfortable driving in certain conditions, slow down. Do not worry about other drivers who are in a hurry. Your safety and the safety of your passengers is more important.

In cases of low visibility, you will need to slow down significantly. If you cannot see more than a few feet in front of your car, you should pull over immediately and turn on your hazard lights. It is unsafe to drive in such conditions. Additionally, you may want to get away from your vehicle and the roadway, in case it is struck by another driver who is unable to see.

Maintain a Safe Speed & Distance

Hazardous road conditions often hinder your ability to brake quickly. Therefore, it is important to maintain a safe speed and driving distance. You never know when the driver in front of you is going to brake or when an obstacle in the road may present itself unexpectedly.

Again, other drivers may tailgate you if you are driving at a safe speed and they are in a hurry. It is important not to respond by hitting the breaks or allowing this to force you into tailgating the car in front of you. Simply maintain a safe speed and distance and allow the car behind you to pass you when the opportunity arises.

Always remember that the goal when driving in hazardous conditions is to get everyone to their destination safely.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!