The recent snow and ice storms across West Virginia likely will not be the last of the winter weather area residents will see. Ideally, they can stay off the roads until it is safe to drive, but this is not always possible. While some may creep cautiously to their destinations, other drivers take unnecessary chances, placing everyone they encounter at risk of a motor vehicle accident.
Over 1,800 U.S. travelers lose their lives in accidents during winter weather each year, and hundreds of thousands more suffer injuries, including some that are life-altering. For those who are unable to stay off the roads during a winter weather event, the following tips may help them arrive safely:
- Watching the weather to be prepared
- Not riding the brakes while driving
- Wearing a seat belt
- Turning gently into a slide without overcorrecting
- Not stopping on the side of the road, even to help a stranded motorist
- Staying away from roads that have sharp curves, hills or limited plow activity
- Remaining alert for other drivers who lose control of their vehicles
The main culprit in any motor vehicle accident is often speed. A vehicle going faster than 45 mph when it goes into a slide on an icy road is almost impossible to recover. It may seem like common sense to say drivers should slow down when the roads are slick, but too many drivers are over-confident in their abilities or the capability of their vehicles. When the weather is bad, there is no excuse for recklessness that places other lives in danger.