Are wintry roads really that dangerous? According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the answer is yes. In fact, auto accidents are the leading cause of death during snow storms. With extreme and often unexpected conditions, such as whiteouts and black ice, winter driving is especially hazardous. Here are some things you need to know about driving on icy roads:
Driving Tired is Like Driving Drunk
An Australian study revealed that staying up for 24 hours straight impairs vehicle handling and response times just as much as driving with a .10 BAC. Moreover, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving kills 1,550 Americans every year, and injures another 71,000. Driving drowsy on winter roads is especially irresponsible. Wintry conditions demand drivers’ full attention. Americans should drive on winter roads only when they are fully awake and alert. It is also a good idea to stay off icy roads when other drivers are most likely to be fatigued. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most drowsy drivers are on the roads between 4-6am, 12-2am, and 2-4pm.
Sometimes It’s Dangerous to Stop
If possible, the American Association of Automobiles (AAA) Exchange recommends slowing down well before traffic lights and stop signs. The reason? It takes considerably longer to stop on icy roads. AAA reminds drivers that it is much easier to gradually slow down than it is to stop abruptly on snow-covered and/or icy roads. Similarly, it is dangerous to stop in the middle of a hill when roads are covered with ice and snow. Instead, drivers should slowly build up momentum and increase speed before tackling hills.
Flares Can Save Your Life
Avoid talking to auto accident injury attorneys and filing time-consuming auto accident injury claims by keeping an emergency winter kit in the trunk of your car. The kit should include flares, road reflectors, an ice scraper, a snow brush, a flashlight, and rock salt or kitty litter.
Don’t end up in court filing auto accident injury claims. Avoid winter accidents by driving fully awake, carefully handling your vehicle, and keeping important emergency materials in your car.
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