What drivers need to know about black ice and other winter dangers

Throughout the winter, many West Virginia residents will continue to drive at unsafe speeds despite the dangers presented by winter conditions. Adverse weather causes almost 1,312,000 accidents across the country every year, according to the United States Federal Highway Administration. It is believed that snow, sleet, rain, ice, fog and other factors are responsible for 23 percent of all traffic crashes. Officials say more than 480,000 people are injured and 6,250 are killed in accidents related to weather conditions.

What are the most dangerous road conditions this winter?

The unpredictable winter weather West Virginia is known for means that drivers can encounter different risks from one day to the next. One morning, drivers heading out for their commute may have to navigate through thick fog or heavy rain, while icy roads and snow flurries are there to greet commuters the next day. In fact, states Esurance, ice is one of the deadliest hazards that drivers can face.

Black ice is particularly dangerous. This type of ice makes roads extremely slick, and it can be difficult for drivers to detect. Black ice often looks like wet pavement or may be nearly invisible, especially in the pre-dawn hours. These thin sheets of ice are often formed by frozen rain in the middle of the night or early morning, and usually show up on bridges, overpasses or shaded areas of the street.

Defensive driving is crucial during the winter. Drivers may protect themselves and others from being injured in a motor vehicle collision in the following ways:

  • Slowing down when weather conditions make driving dangerous
  • Not slamming on the brakes if the car slides on snow or ice; instead, easing up on the gas pedal and keeping the steering wheel steady
  • Using the lower headlights in fog instead of the high beams, which will increase glare
  • Not using cruise control when the roads are slippery

Drivers should also give other vehicles enough space to maneuver or come to a stop when the weather is bad. Driving cautiously and adjusting speed for weather conditions can save lives.

Fog may have contributed to accident

A recent crash in Apple Grove highlights the dangers of winter driving in West Virginia. The Point Pleasant Daily Register reported that a vehicle pulling onto West Virginia 2 was struck by an oncoming car. The passenger in the first car was killed. Witnesses said that heavy fog may have kept the drivers from seeing each other.

You may be able to reduce your risk of getting into a crash by driving carefully, but others may not do the same. If you are injured by a careless driver this winter, you may wish to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss possible compensation.

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