Winter in Rhode Island can make roads treacherous. Snow, ice, slush, and other conditions increase slipperiness and can make it difficult to stop, start, or turn, especially in an emergency situation. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), one in every four crashes on U.S. roads each year is weather-related. Many of these are the result of snow, ice, sleet, and other winter driving conditions.
Winter Driving in Rhode Island
Winter Driving and Weather Related Accidents
Between 1995 and 2008, the FHA estimates that falling snow and sleet caused 225,000 crashes on average each year. Approximately 870 people lose their lives in these accidents nationwide annually, and another 70,900 are injured. Snow and sleet accumulating on roads, parking lots, and other surfaces also causes damage. Even after snow and sleet have stopped falling, their presence on roadways causes as many as 168,300 crashes each year, taking approximately 620 lives and leaving an additional 47,700 persons injured.
Ice caused by dropping temperatures or freezing rain also causes deaths and injuries. Icy pavement is a common cause of winter driving accidents, especially when water freezes in a way that creates “black ice” that is nearly impossible to see. Each year between 1995 and 2008, an average of 190,100 crashes were caused by icy pavement. These crashes left about 62,700 persons injured throughout the U.S. and were responsible for taking the lives of about 680 drivers and passengers each year. Icy-pavement-related accidents alone account for 13 percent of all weather-related car accidents. These winter car accident statistics prove that safety on the road should be a major concern for Rhode Islanders during the colder months.
Why do Winter Car Accidents happen?
Like other types of car accidents, a winter car crash can be caused by any number of factors, including:
- Increased braking distance – Snow and ice prevent a vehicle from stopping as quickly as it might on dry, clear pavement.
- Sliding or skidding – A vehicle that hits a patch of ice, slush, or packed snow may have some, or all, of its tires slide or skid. Anti-lock braking systems can help prevent slides and skids, but they do not eliminate this problem.
- Decreased visibility – While driving in snow, ice, sleet, or freezing rain, it can become difficult for drivers to see, resulting in accidents. Drivers who fail to clear their cars thoroughly of ice or snow before starting out may also limit ability to see, increasing the chances of accidents.
- Distracted driving – Distractions like cell phones, car radios, food, pets, and conversations with others in the vehicle can all take a driver’s mind, eyes, or hands away from the task of driving safely. When combined with the increased stopping distances needed by cars on snowy or icy pavement, even a moment’s distraction can have disastrous consequences.
Involved in a Snow or Ice Crash? Contact Our Experienced Winter Car Accident Lawyers
A car accident changes a person’s life, and often impacts the injured person’s loved ones, as well. Those injured in car accidents may lose months or even years of wages while they heal, and they may accrue steep medical bills.
Marasco & Nesselbush is Rhode Island’s trusted personal injury law firm. Our dedicated auto accident attorneys in RI have years of experience in skillfully handling car accident injury cases. We are committed to providing outstanding legal results for every client we serve. To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one obtain justice after an accident, please fill out a free case evaluation form on this website, or call one of our local offices today for a free and confidential consultation.