Each year, there are well over 6 million car accidents in the U.S.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), about 25 percent of these accidents occur in adverse weather. That's close to 2 million car accidents. As we plow through the winter driving season, our St. Louis personal injury lawyers are asking that you take the necessary safety precautions to avoid one of these accidents.
About 20 percent of these weather-related car accidents happen in either snow or sleet. Close to 15 percent occur on icy pavement and more than 10 percent happen on snowy or slushy pavement. Many times, drivers fail to adjust their driving habits for the dangerous conditions.
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MDOT) provides some tips and suggestions to help you get ready for the dangers that accompany the winter driving season.
Before Setting Out:
-Be sure to winterize your vehicle. Fill it up with fresh antifreeze. Make sure it has a good battery and your exhaust system is operating properly. Make sure the oil is able to withstand the rigors of cold weather!
-If you're able to, hold off on driving until the weather and the road conditions improve following a storm.
-Do a pre-trip inspection on your vehicle. Take a peek at your brakes, tires, windshield wipers and the fluids.
-Make sure you know where you're going before you leave. Behind the wheel is no time to figure out directions.
-Be sure to leave for your destination with plenty of time to spare. You don't want to be out rushing on slick roadways!
During Your Trip:
-Make sure you don't exceed the speed limits. It's for your own safety!
-Avoid tailgating other drivers. Use common sense. Keep your distance to increase your safety!
-Give snow plows plenty of room to do their work and do not pass them.
-Make sure that you and everyone in your vehicle is properly buckled in during each and every car ride.
-Remember that driving is more dangerous when there are freezing temps -- or temps 32 degrees and below.
-Keep an eye out for vehicles on the side of the road that may be having problems.
-Make sure your lights, windows and mirrors are always clean.
-Always drive with your headlights on.
-Avoid passing other vehicle while traveling on or near bridges.
-Make sure your gas tank is always at least half full.
-If you don't feel comfortable behind the wheel, don't be afraid to pull over. You can pull off to a safe area and wait it out!
These winter weather conditions also increase maintenance and operation costs for transportation agencies. The costs for the winter season alone account for about 20 percent of the Department of Transportation's budget. Unfortunately, these operations can't always keep up with Mother Nature -- leaving drivers to take to the roads at their own risk.
To get information on weather and road conditions before setting out, you can call 1-888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636).
More Blog Entries:
Missouri Car Accidents & Setting Safe Examples for Teen Drivers, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog, September 30, 2012
Missouri Auto Accidents: Increase in Roadway Fatalities Already Reported in 2012, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog, August 18, 2012