Everyone knows that being behind the wheel of a car is dangerous when the snow is falling. Slippery road surfaces, impaired vision from blustery winds and loss of tire traction all factor into the increased danger of driving that winter presents. But have you ever wondered if car accidents and injuries are more prevalent during the winter months than during the rest of the year? The answer might surprise you.
According to national statistics by the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are reportedly just over 6 million car accidents every year. Of those accidents, 24% (approximately 1.5 million), are weather related – i.e. involving rain, sleet, snow, wind or fog. Within those weather-related statistics, winter-related accidents result in more catastrophic (resulting in injury or death) types of accidents, meaning that you are more likely to be seriously inured or killed in an accident that occurs during winter as compared to other weather-related accidents. Of those accidents, 15% occur while it’s snowing and 13% percent are due to ice. Comparatively, a much larger majority of weather related accidents, 75%, are rain related. It might surprise you that winter conditions do not actually lead to a statistically higher overall number of accidents as compared to other types of weather, and that there are actually weather conditions that are more dangerous to drive in (more statistically likely to lead to a car accident.) Thus far, winter 2013 has proven to be a rainy season across the U.S., making car crashes more likely across the board.
Rain is actually more dangerous than snow?
Based on the data; yes. However, it is hard to tell outright. There are a couple of factors behind the conclusion that rain leads to more accidents than winter conditions. First, the chances of being involved in a car crash are higher when there are the most amount of people on the road. People have a tendency to stay home and avoid the roads when it’s snowing so the likelihood of being involved in an accident is somewhat lessened. Also, snowy conditions are often treated with the severity that impaired driving deserves; traffic will move slower because drivers tend to treat snowy roads with extreme caution. Rain, which occurs year round and in more parts of the country, is often treated as a mundane weather condition and not given the precaution it may deserve. Thus, as an overall category of weather, rain occurs more often and affects a much larger amount of drivers than snow or ice.
While winter snow isn’t as big of a culprit in causing accidents as you might have expected, drivers should take the same precautions and care while behind the wheel all year round. Use extra care when driving in the rain; rainy conditions factor the most highly in vehicular accidents. Seatbelts should always be worn. The driver should pay implicit attention to the road, not the radio or their cellular device. Also, the speed limit should always be respected.
Following these basic safety rules all year round will ensure you have another spring fling or drive through next year’s winter wonderland.
If you have been injured in a weather-related car accident in New Jersey
I invite you to contact us. The Law Offices of Joseph Lombardo has been representing clients in personal injury matters in Southern New Jersey for over 20 years. We have offices conveniently located in Hammonton, NJ and Atlantic City, NJ. If you have been injured, there are certain time deadlines for seeing a doctor and filing a claim that you must follow. It is important that you contact an attorney as soon after you have been injured or you begin to show symptoms of a serious health issue. If you are seeking an Atlantic City or Hammonton, NJ lawyer, contact us today for a free, initial consultation.