Winter weather presents numerous driving hazards, including slippery roads, black ice, reduced visibility and unsafe drivers.
During the winter season, drivers in colder states like Colorado will need to take extra precautions to avoid getting into an accident. Not surprisingly, fog, snowfall and icy roads create dangerous road conditions that can be challenging even for experienced drivers. These, combined with other factors such as younger drivers or large trucks, can turn roads deadly this year.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, nearly a quarter of all car crashes related to weather conditions occur on icy or snowy roads each year. This results in more than 1,300 deaths and 116,800 injuries throughout the country annually.
Slick roadways that are covered in ice or slush frequently result in dangerous skids, or in vehicles that get stuck and are unable to move, states the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, these are not the only winter safety risks facing motorists. Fog, heavy snowfall, rain or sleet can decrease visibility without warning. Other drivers may underestimate the danger and fail to reduce their speed. Even bright sunlight glaring on freshly-fallen snow can temporarily blind a driver and lead to an accident.
One of the worst winter dangers is black ice. This deadly ice often forms on roadways when the temperature drops and appears as wet pavement, rather than a sheet of ice. It can be especially difficult to realize black ice for what it really is at night or early morning, when visibility is reduced and temperatures are at their coldest.
Colorado residents frequently encounter large trucks on highways throughout the state. Truck drivers face increased challenges driving safely in winter conditions. These include the following:
A recent crash illustrated the dangers of sharing the road with commercial trucks in winter conditions. According to 9 News, last November the driver of a dump truck lost control on Interstate 70 after a snowstorm and crashed into a wall. A Colorado State Trooper attempted to alert traffic to the accident, but an oncoming semi truck struck the back of the officer’s car, sandwiching it between the two trucks. Fortunately, the trooper only received minor injuries, which is not often the case in truck accidents. Authorities stated the crash may have been prevented if the truck drivers had been driving more slowly under the dangerous conditions.
This accident shows how even commercially-trained drivers can fail to drive carefully when the roads are slippery. If you are injured in an accident this winter by a negligent or reckless driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.