Crashes by Weather and Road Surface Conditions
Car crashes pose a threat to anyone on the road. Despite all of the safety measures in place to minimize the risk of an automobile accident, they occur at a startlingly high rate. There are many factors that can contribute to a car accident. Understanding accident causes and risk factors can help drivers further improve their safety on the road.
One factor that can affect the likelihood of a car crash is weather and road surface conditions. Here, the car accident lawyers at Foley Law Firm present data analyzing Pennsylvania crashes by weather and road surface conditions, and offer our Scranton, PA clients tips for safer driving practices.
How Common Are Crashes Related to Weather and Road Surface Conditions?
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) recently published a report analyzing the state’s car accident data for 2018. The numbers show that crashes related to weather and road surface conditions were actually lower than might be expected. Out of the 128,420 total crashes reported for the year, only 25 percent involved poor weather conditions, and just 32 percent involved poor road surface conditions.
Of the weather conditions that were present at the time of reported car accidents, the most common were:
- Rain/rain and fog – Present in 20,213, or 15.7% of crashes
- Snow/sleet/freezing rain – Present in 9,802, or 7.6% of crashes
- Other unspecified weather conditions – Present in 1,307, or 1% of crashes
The adverse road conditions that were most commonly noted in reported car accidents for the year were:
- Wet roads – Present in 28,092, or 21.9% of crashes
- Snow/slush on the roads – Present in 7,903, or 6.2% of crashes
- Ice/ice patches – Present in 4,468, or 3.5% of crashes
Understanding the Car Crash Data
Adverse weather and poor road conditions both create hazards that increase the risk of an accident, so why is it that accident data shows that relatively few crashes seem to involve these conditions? There are three important factors that our Stroudsburg clients should consider when reviewing these numbers:
- Overall weather conditions: Overall, the state has more days with good weather and clear roads, so it stands to reason that there are more accidents when conditions are decent.
- Weather avoidance: Another possible explanation for this data is that some drivers choose to avoid the roads when weather and road conditions are bad, thus decreasing the likelihood of an accident.
- Lack of caution on clear days: A final explanation for why more accidents occur when conditions are clear is that drivers may not pay as much attention to the road when there are no hazards to alert them to the potential risk of an accident.
Safe Driving Tips
Regardless of the conditions of the weather or roads, there are steps our Wilkes-Barre clients can take to minimize the risk of an accident. We recommend these driving tips:
- Follow all posted road signs/signals
- Adhere to posted speed limits, or slow down, as conditions require
- Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and others
- Pull over if weather conditions greatly compromise visibility
- Avoid distractions
- Remain focused on the road, but also be aware of other drivers
Schedule a Consultation
If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by another person or party, the lawyers at Foley Law Firm can help you seek compensation for damages. To discuss your crash with a member of our legal team, call (570) 209-8240 and schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.