Icy Road Conditions Ends in Fatal Car Accident
A Honda Civic fatally collided with a Chelan County snowplow in Wenatchee on Saturday morning. Wenatchee police say that the Honda likely lost traction in the fresh snow, causing it to cross the center line of the roadway. The car hit the snowplow on the passenger side of the vehicle. The 20-year-old passenger died from injuries she sustained in the crash.
A local hospital treated the driver of the Honda, a 22-year-old man from Cashmere, for minor injuries. The driver of the snowplow wasn’t injured in the accident. http://www.ifiberone.com/wenatchee/persons-involved-in-fatal-snowplow-collision-identified/article_d50d7850-1663-11e8-99d8-439059d00acd.html
Weathering the Elements
Weather is a volatile element to deal with when it comes to driving. It can cause visibility impairments, hinder vehicle performance, create pavement friction and compromise the roadway’s safety infrastructure and traffic flow. Winds can down trees and power lines; heavy rains can obscure lane markers and signs. Inclement weather can not only cause hazardous lane obstructions but can also turn oft-traveled roads into dangerous routes of uncertainty.
There’s an average of 5,748,000 vehicle crashes across the country every year. The weather plays a factor in nearly 22% of these crashes. Snowy or slushy pavement, wind, and fog–all of these elements reduce a driver’s ability to navigate the roadway and sometimes even compromises the vehicle’s grip and optimal performance standards. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact.htm
With at least 70% of the country’s population living in areas that experience winter driving conditions, it’s no wonder that winter road maintenance accounts for nearly 20 percent of each state’s Department of Transportation budget. These services are vital to keeping traffic flowing throughout the winter months. Accidents between snowplows and vehicles are rare, but they do happen. Drivers need to heed the signs posted on roadways and stay to the left of a snow plow. Flying snow and debris can bury a snow plow, which is why they need to stay away from it.
Weather-related Vehicle Accidents Kill More People Every Year than Large-scale Weather Disasters
The Department of Transportation says that those 5,900 or so deaths from motor vehicle accidents account for about 16% of all vehicular deaths, with another 445,000+ people injured annually. It’s interesting to note, that for the same 10-year time period and study, the combined numbers of deaths from flooding, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, and heat was only 375, in comparison.
Winter driving challenges come in a variety of ways. Wet pavement and rain are the two greatest contributors to weather-related vehicle crashes, followed by winter weather hazards and fog. Fresh snow covering icy patches can be particularly treacherous, as we saw from the unfortunate Wenatchee car crash with the snow plow. The riskiest common denominator in many terrible weather-related crashes seems to be ice. No matter the type of vehicle or the experience of the driver, ice is no respecter of persons. https://weather.com/safety/winter/news/weather-fatalities-car-crashes-accidents-united-states
Safety means Fewer Auto Accidents in the Winter
In a recent article from the U.S. News and World Report, 7 Safety Tips for driving in the snow were presented:
Slow Down–the Turtle Wins This Race
Driving slower is key to maintaining control on snowy or icy roads. Accelerating, stopping, and turning are less predictable and it’s suggested that drivers frequently underestimate how long it takes to brake and stop on covered roadways. Speed limit signs are irrelevant when there’s snow on the ground and should never be exceeded in winter conditions.
Know Your Brakes
Most modern cars have anti-lock brakes. Any vehicle reacts slower in snow and you should keep a longer following distance than you normally would with other vehicles. That means instead of 3-4 seconds behind another car, make it about 8-10 seconds or more. Stopping on ice requires at least twice as long when it’s freezing. Know how the brakes feel when braking on ice, with their vibrating and pulsing, so you know how to provide enough pressure to gain traction to help you maneuver.
All-Wheel Drive Isn’t Magic
No one is invincible on ice–even those with 4-wheel drive. A 4-wheel drive vehicle may give you better traction and handling in foul weather, provide extra control when turning, but is not inherently “safer” in weather-related scenarios. Four-wheel drive owners still need to remember to watch for other motorists and properly brake. And remember–ice doesn’t care what you’re driving either!
Don’t stop on ice or snow if you can avoid it. Keeping a steady pace in turns and going uphill keeps traction and the vehicle from spinning out. Firing up the gas pedal causes spinning and slides.
Consider Snow Tires
Tires are an essential factor in winter driving as they are they point of contact between the vehicle and the road. Winter tires typically have a deeper tread and make it easier to grip the road in snowy or icy conditions. As in the case with 4-wheel drive, they can’t do miracles, but they can expand your car’s ability to retain grip. In especially heavy snow, chains provide better traction, and will usually be indicated when necessary by highway signs and boards.
Be Prepared for the Worst of Winter
Sometimes it’s just safest to stay home. No accidents when you’re not on the road, right? Even if you feel confident in your driving abilities, that doesn’t necessarily mean that other motorists are as competent or skilled on weather-challenged roads. And having a vehicle that is well-maintained and prepared for all road conditions is important. Antifreeze, clean headlights, windshield wipers and winter fluids, and good tires are necessary for winter travel plans.
Check the Exhaust…aka Tailpipe
Snow builds up around vehicles when they are parked outdoors or if the vehicle is backed into an innocent pile of snow. Snow and debris can block the exhaust system and recycle it back into the vehicle’s passenger compartment. This is deadly, as carbon monoxide is odorless. Always remember to do a visual check of your vehicle when digging it out of a snowy ditch or away from high amounts of snow. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/driving-in-snow-tips-for-staying-safe
Our Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help
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At Fielding Law Group, we focus on serving those who’ve suffered personal injuries and loss in motor vehicle accidents, so we are better able to concentrate our skills and efforts in getting the compensation and restitution our clients deserve.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a weather-related accident or collision, call Fielding Law Group today, for a free consultation about your case. Our personal injury attorneys are familiar with the antagonistic tactics and runaround strategies some insurance companies use to wear innocent victims down and get them to settle quickly. Let Fielding Law Group represent you to the fullest degree of the law and we’ll fight to get you the highest compensation for your unique case. Remember—Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!
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