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What is the impact of icy roads?

Learn how ice on the roadways can impact drivers and lead to serious accidents. Find out how to properly drive of icy roads to prevent accidents.

Winter is characterized by heavy coats, hats, gloves and scarves. People bundle up to go outside because the temperature drops low and it begins to snow. The cold weather also causes havoc on the roadways. Snow is bad enough, but as it melts during the day and from road treatments, it is prime for freezing overnight. In addition, ice storms at any point during the day can be a huge issue. In either case, the result is ice on the roads, which is a serious danger to all drivers.

The dangers of icy roads

According to the Federal Highway Administration, ice is a serious risk to drivers. It affects visibility, pavement friction and traffic speed. At the same time, it increases travel time and accident risk. Every year, there are around 1.2 million accidents attributed to weather. These accidents cause around 6,000 deaths and 445,000 injuries. While rain is actually more dangerous than winter weather, 13 percent of accidents still occur on icy roads. This is three percent of all crashes and accounts for two percent of injuries and two percent of deaths. So, ice is still a big issue.

Avoiding accidents on icy roads

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles suggests drivers do not drive on icy roadways at all if possible. Ice is the most dangerous surface on which to drive. Low accident rates are most likely a reflection of people not driving due to school and work being cancelled than it is a reflection of the actual risk. If a person must drive on ice, he or she should drive very slowly, almost reducing to a crawl. There is no traction for tires on an icy road.

If a driver is driving when it begins to snow or to ice over, he or she should reduce speed immediately by at least 10 MPH. It is important to watch for shady spots where ice may form and be aware that overpasses and bridges ice first. So, even if the roadway is fine, these spots may not be. Also, drivers need to understand that when temperatures are just above freezing, it is more dangerous than when they are below freezing because ice slightly melts adding to the slipperiness.

If possible, drivers should put studded tires on their vehicles. These special tires are allowed in Connecticut from November 15 to April 30. They help provide more traction on ice and can help keep drivers safe.

If you are concerned about winter driving or have been in a winter weather-related accident, it is a good idea to seek help from an attorney, such as those at the Law Offices of James L. O'Rourke. Winter driving requires paying attention because if you do cause an accident, you will still be held liable despite the road conditions.