A new AAA Foundation study examining weather-related car accidents shows that motorists may be more at risk when snow accumulations are small. While all winter weather conditions can cause an increase in crashes, small amounts of snow may offer false confidence and lead to less cautious driving.
What did the study examine?
The AAA research examined more than 1.1 million police reports of auto accidents that occurred during fog, rain, sleet, snow, or icing conditions. Researchers were able to determine the most dangerous weather conditions by analyzing when the majority of these crashes happened, and by tracking the relative severity of these accidents. The study found that, overall, weather plays a role in over 425,000 injury accidents and 5,100 fatality accidents each year.
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What were the key findings of the study?
Winter is by far the most dangerous season for weather-related crashes. Sleet, snow, and other winter weather are a factor in about 225,000 accidents each year. About 46 percent of bad weather crashes happen during winter.
The study also shows that motorists who drive at night are at an increased risk over those who drive during daylight hours. Most bad weather accidents occur after six p.m. and before six a.m., potentially due to a combination of limited visibility and frozen roads.
Were there any surprising findings?
While accidents occur more frequently in winter weather than on dry, sunny days, bad weather crashes are often less severe. Motorists generally drive faster and use less caution on dry roads, which may contribute to this phenomenon.
The difference in how likely you are to suffer serious or fatal injury in a crash on dry roads is actually pretty staggering. The study shows that drivers and passengers suffer 31 percent fewer injuries in snowy crashes, and 47 percent fewer deaths per wreck than those that happen on dry roads in nice weather.
What should I take away from this study?
The AAA Foundation study emphasizes the dangers winter weather poses for motorists. Slowing down, taking your time, and driving with extra caution are key in preventing bad weather crashes.
It is also important not to drop your guard just because snow accumulations are less than the weatherman predicted or less than you are accustomed to seeing. Previous studies have found that a high number of fatal wrecks occur during the first snowfall each year, but weather-related crashes occur throughout winter.
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How can attorney David Bressman help?
If you suffered injuries in an auto accident in Ohio, the at-fault party can be held responsible. The car accident attorneys at Bressman Law represent victims of Ohio car crashes, helping to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company or fighting for fair compensation in court.