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How can MA drivers reduce the risk of weather-related crashes in winter?

Winter presents numerous traffic hazards for people in Northern states. Developing safe driving habits may reduce the risk of a crash.

Anyone who has driven in Massachusetts in the winter can attest that the roads may present a harrowing experience. Northern weather, combined with the area’s congested traffic, present numerous opportunities for accidents. Many people are unprepared for winter driving, especially younger drivers, who have not had as much experience and may believe they can safely drive at normal speeds when conditions are less than ideal. All accidents cannot be prevented, but developing safe driving habits in all seasons may reduce one’s chances of being in a crash.

The weather plays a significant part in motor vehicle collisions across the country, according to the United States Federal Highway Administration. Authorities report that almost 1,312,000 accidents every year are caused by adverse weather conditions. These result in more than 480,000 injuries and 6,250 deaths annually.

What are the dangers that drivers face in the winter?

Esurance points out that most weather-related road conditions in the winter pertain to slippery driving surfaces. In Northern states, these frequently result from rain, sleet, snow and ice. The area is also prone to sudden, severe ice storms that can cripple traffic and cause dangerous multi-vehicle pileups on freeways. In addition to icy roads, drivers may experience lack of visibility from heavy fog, sun glare and whiteout conditions.

One of the worst dangers a driver can encounter during the colder months is black ice, which can challenge even the most experienced drivers. Black ice often develops on bridges, under overpasses and other spots in the road that are shady or colder and wetter than the surrounding areas. It often forms at night, which presents further visibility challenges for night drivers, and is a thin sheet of ice that does not typically look like ice – instead appearing matte or as a wet patch on the pavement. However, black ice is extremely slick and can result in a driver losing control before he or she realizes there was ice on the road.

What can drivers do to be safe in adverse weather?

To reduce the chances of being injured in accidents, it is vital that drivers reduce their speed when weather conditions are poor. Speed is a top factor in weather-related crashes, especially on icy roads or in heavy fog or poor visibility. Those with all-weather tires should realize that their tires do not provide the type of traction they would have on a dry road, and they should also reduce their speed. The following tips should also be observed during poor weather:

· Drive courteously and patiently.

· Use the turn signal well in advance of changing lanes or turning.

· Give other vehicles plenty of space.

· Do not slam on the brakes when encountering a slippery surface.

· Leave earlier than usual to ensure there is plenty of time to drive safely to a destination.

Adopting good driving habits in the winter may significantly increase one’s odds of staying safe. Unfortunately, there will always be those who are inexperienced or take risks. Those who are injured by others may wish to speak with a Massachusetts personal injury attorney.

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