Ahead of the potential for a winter storm this weekend, AAA released a study on weather-related traffic deaths and how to be prepared if you have to head out on the roads.
Bad weather is a factor in nearly half a million crashes, and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter, according to a recent study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“It’s no secret that wet and snow covered roads are more dangerous” AAA Spokesperson Amy Parmenter said in a press release. “But the latest research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety really paints a new picture of just how many lives are lost as a result”.
According to the study, the highest proportion of crashes during bad weather happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., when visibility is limited and roads are likely to freeze.
“Previous research also has found that the rates of fatal crashes are higher during the first snowfall of the year than on subsequent days with snow,” the release said.
The study also found that rain, snow, sleet and fog are factors in more than 1.1 million police-reported crashes, 425,000 injuries, and 5,100 traffic deaths per year.
A surprising factor in the study was that crashes in bad weather are generally less severe than crashes taking place in clear weather.
“For example, crashes that occur on snow-covered roads result in 31 percent fewer injuries per crash and 47 percent fewer fatalities per crash than on dry roads,” the release said.
To stay safe, AAA said drivers should stay home if they don’t have to go out during the bad weather. If you do have to go out, drive slowly and accelerate and decelerate slowly.
Also, increase following distance to eight to 10 seconds. Drivers should try to slow down enough to roll until a traffic light changes, instead of stopping quickly.
During bad weather, it is possible drivers can become stranded on the side of the road for various reasons. AAA handles an average of 600,000 emergency roadside assistance calls per week in the winter.
Drivers should keep an emergency kit in their car, with things like a shovel, flashlight, gloves or mittens, ice scraper, jumper cables, blanket, first aid kit, a cell phone, a bag of abrasive materials like sand or salt and a warning flare or triangles.
To read the complete study, click here.
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