The number one cause of death from winter storms is car accidents and transportation accidents – not exposure to the cold. In fact, according to the Federal Highway Administration, about 70 percent of accidental deaths that occur in the wintertime happen in car accidents. This shocking statistic shows why using cold weather driving tips to reduce your risk of car accident is so important.
Cold weather accident statistics
According to SafeWinterRoads.org:
- Icy pavement car crashes account for 24 percent of weather related car accidents and cause 1,300 deaths and 116,800 injuries each year.
- Snowfall or sleet car accidents account for 15 percent of cold weather related car crashes and are responsible for 900 deaths and 76,000 injuries each year.
- Warm your car up for a minute but never in an enclosed area as it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Leave extra time to reach your destination and drive below the speed limit; driving times are dramatically increased when there is snow, slush or ice on the roads.
- Keep your tires inflated to manufacturer standard.
- Use winter/snow tires if possible.
- Check that your tires have adequate tread.
- Keep at least half a tank of gas in your vehicle.
- If possible, avoid using your parking break.
- Do not use cruise control on slippery roads; you should maintain control of the vehicle’s speed.
- Look and steer where you want to go.
- Take slow, measured actions. Accelerate, decelerate and turn carefully.
- Read the weather report before heading out. Avoid or delay trips to treacherous areas if possible.
- Pack a phone for communication in case of accident plus a blanket and other winter gear, water and snacks in your trunk.
- If you get in a car accident, stay with your vehicle. Do not walk for help in a storm. Your vehicle is shelter and is easier for rescuers to locate than a pedestrian. Bundle up with anything available in your car.
- If you need help to push your vehicle up a hill, tie a brightly colored cloth to your antenna and wait for help rather than attempt to push the vehicle alone. If it is dark, keep your dome light on.
- Ensure that the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud as this could cause a carbon monoxide leak inside the vehicle.
- Run your vehicle sparingly or just long enough to fend off the extreme cold.
- If a hill is snowy or icy try to get a little momentum going before you start up the hill. Attempting to power up the hill by accelerating hard can end up in spinning tires. Once on the hill, try not to stop.
- Increase your distance between vehicles from 3-4 seconds on dry pavement to 8-10 seconds on wet pavement.
- If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) and need to slow down quickly, press hard on your brake pedal.
Contact a qualified car accident lawyer if you have been injured in a cold weather car accident.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!