Drivers in the Spokane region were reminded how treacherous bad-weather driving can be when winter conditions arrived earlier this month. Rain and snow fell across the area, bringing slippery conditions in low visibility.
Although there were many cases of drivers sliding off roads and numerous minor fender-benders, few injuries were reported. The only fatality blamed on the storms happened on U.S. 95 in Sandpoint, Idaho, when a woman lost control of her car on a slick road and crashed into a truck traveling in the opposite direction.
Successive storms, beginning Thursday night (November 2), dropped snow every day through Monday. At one point that Friday, Interstate 90 through the Snoqualmie Pass was closed for several hours because of vehicles involved in multiple collisions on the slippery road.
Spokane International Airport recorded 3.2 inches that Sunday, making it the snowiest November 5 on record here and bringing the total since the start of the month to 6.9 inches. That already puts the region close to the 7.4 inches measured in an average November.
Crash data analyzed by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that about 22 percent of all crashes (more than 1.25 million every year) happen in adverse weather conditions. Each year, weather is part of the mix in crashes that cause more than 445,000 injuries and close to 6,000 deaths.
Other factors, such as speed or driving under the influence, are often involved, but slick roads or poor visibility add to the chance of a crash. AAA’s look at the data found that, while rain is the most frequent weather-related crash factor, snow or sleet is present in more than 220,000 crashes each year.
AAA offers some useful advice for driving in snow. These include the obvious—drive more slowly, leave more room for braking—but also some you might not think of.
Do you use cruise control on wet roads? Do you accelerate as you approach a snowy uphill stretch? Neither is a good idea. Cruise control can behave erratically on slippery surfaces, while powering into a slippery slope can start your wheels spinning, both of which can lead to a loss of control and other problems.
Every driver should be more careful as we move into winter, but even the most careful driver can’t control what others do behind the wheel. When someone has made you the victim of a crash because he or she did not drive safely in poor weather or for any other reason, give us a call.
The attorneys at Craig Swapp & Associates have years of experience with auto accident law, and we’ve helped many clients recover substantial compensation in their motor vehicle accident cases. When you’re ready, call 1-800-404-9000 or fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.