Many law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota are heeding the warnings about driving in the winter.
Crashes occur no matter what time of year it is. You see an increase in motorcycle crashes during the warmer months, while you see truck and car crashes throughout the entire year. Historically, the winter months see a higher number of crashes. However, the number of fatalities is less in the winter than in the summer because the speeds seem to be much greater when the roads are dry compared to when they are covered in snow and ice. Higher speeds produce more serious injuries and deaths, making it the number one factor that contributes to accidents and how serious the end result is.
When it comes to SUV crashes, these increase during the winter because of the false sense of security that the vehicles give their drivers. However, some of these vehicles are more susceptible to rollover than others and they can still slide on the roadway even if they have four-wheel drive.
Then, of course, the weather conditions are a major factor in accidents. You can have one person driving carefully for them to be hit by another who was driving carelessly on the hazardous roadway. It is not unheard of for the Minnesota State Patrol to see 200 to 400 vehicles off of the road or in crashes during a winter storm. Winter white-out conditions are quite common during the winter in Minnesota.
Here are some tips to motorists to help them while on the roads include:
- Always wear seat belts in case an accident does occur. If you are driving carefully and not wearing your seat belt, you could still be seriously injured or killed if you encounter a careless driver on the roadway.
- Leave for your destination in plenty of time because taking your time can make a great difference in your safety.
- Travel a speed that is appropriate for the weather conditions. While it may seem as if your vehicle has a good grip on the road, all it takes is one patch of ice. If someone else is at fault in an accident, your speed can still play a factor in the severity of the injuries.
- Traveling at a lower speed can reduce the number of crashes and even minimize the impact of those that occur.
- Ensure there is enough of a stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. If you rear-end a car that slammed on their brakes, you will be cited for the accident and not them.
- Leave plenty of room between you and snow plows. Sometimes they leave clumps of snow behind that you need to be able to see to avoid. Plus, snow plows may have to suddenly stop.
- Keep the cruise control off in bad weather conditions. This keeps your foot right by the brake pedal.
- Headlights should be on when it is snowing and sleeting so that you are seen. Look out for vehicles that don’t have their headlights because these vehicles tend to be among those involved in accidents.
While not every accident can be avoided, some can be. Those that can’t be, the seriousness of them can be reduced in some cases. All it takes is some careful driving and alertness while on the road.