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Are There More Car Accidents in the Winter?

November 20 2023 | Car Accidents

Every year, thousands of people end up in emergency rooms with serious injuries from automobile accidents. Connecticut drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians are put in danger due to hazards such as distracted and careless drivers. In wintertime, however, the roads can become even more dangerous due to adverse weather conditions.

Summer Is the Deadliest Time of Year for Drivers 

Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that there are fewer fatal car accidents in the wintertime than in summer in the U.S. The National Safety Council states that in 2021, the number of traffic deaths was lowest in the winter months of January through March, while they were highest in May through October. These statistics were consistent with the numbers in previous years.

Generally, January and February have the lowest number of car accident deaths, while the summer months of July, August and October have the highest. While it is easy to assume winter is more dangerous due to weather conditions such as ice and snow, summer presents its own risks. They include teen drivers being off school for the summer, holidays leading to drunk driving and more vehicles on the road in general in good weather.

Unique Car Accident Risks Exist in Wintertime

Fatal car accidents may be more common in the summertime, but that does not mean drivers are safe in the winter months. Wintertime precipitation can cause related traffic accidents. Snow and ice can accumulate on the road and cause a loss of vehicle control, while snowstorms or hail can reduce a driver’s visibility. Car accidents such as rear-end collisions, hydroplaning accidents and rollovers are more common in adverse winter weather.

In addition, vehicle owners may not take the proper steps to prepare their cars for wintertime driving. They may not account for issues such as changes in fluid and tire pressure, for example, which could lead to dangerous equipment breakdowns or tire blowouts. They also might not replace standard tires with winter or all-season tires, which can increase the risk of losing control of a vehicle on icy roads.

Some people, especially new drivers, may overestimate their ability to drive in dangerous weather conditions. Others are not accustomed to driving in winter weather conditions at all. Finally, the presence of snowplows can create their own challenges for drivers in wintertime. A driver may fail to see a snowplow on the side of the road in low visibility and cause an accident. Snow accumulation, reduced road width and the presence of salt crystals can also contribute to car accidents by creating hazardous conditions.

How to Stay Safe on the Road This Winter

Be proactive about preventing car accidents this winter. Take the time to winterize your vehicle and conduct a pre-drive inspection of your fluids, brakes, tires and battery. Check the weather so that you are adequately prepared for the environmental and road conditions. Stay vigilant at all times; scan the road ahead of you and never drive while distracted or impaired. Reduce your speed and be prepared to come to a stop at a moment’s notice. 

Know your limits. If the weather is too dangerous to drive, pull off the road in a safe location to wait out a storm. Put an emergency kit with food and blankets in your trunk in case you break down and get stranded waiting for help. If you get involved in a car accident with another driver, remain calm and report it to the police. Get medical care for your injuries without delay. Then, contact a New Haven car accident attorney at Jacobs & Jacobs to discuss your legal rights.

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