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Winter Driving is Coming, but That’s not the Issue

Pennsylvania’s capitol city rarely gets the volume of snow that those to the north of us under the sway of the “lake effect” do, but we get our fair share. And often seemingly more dangerous than snow is freezing rain, or wet roads that freeze once the sun goes down in the winter. It’s with this in mind that we’d like to remind all drivers to slow down and exercise caution on winter roads to avoid vehicle accidents.

But according to a recent report by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, weather is not usually the culprit for vehicle accidents — nearly 80 percent of all crashes take place when the road conditions are dry.

There were 127,127 crashes statewide that resulted in 1200 deaths in 2015. The road conditions were as follows:

  • 91,598 of the crashes resulting in 946 deaths were on dry pavement.
  • 19,975 crashes resulting in 169 deaths were on wet pavement.
  • 8,560 crashes resulting in 35 deaths were on snow or slush.
  • 6308 crashes resulting in 39 deaths were on ice and patches of ice.

Sure one reason for crashes in dry conditions are vehicle defects or malfunction, but the overwhelming reason for car crashes in Pennsylvania (and across the United States) is human error.

The top four reasons for human error in a vehicle crash in Pennsylvania:

  • Speed-related resulted in 33,176 crashes and 467 deaths.
  • Intoxicated driver resulted in 9,520 crashes and 167 deaths.
  • Improper turning resulted in 12,928 crashes and 78 deaths.
  • Distracted driver resulted in 14,805 crashes and 61 deaths.

With reports across the country of a rise in distracted driving, chances are good that it won’t stay in fourth place for long. So we do pay attention when the weather is bad, but less so when conditions are good.

Drivers must remain vigilant to avoid vehicle accidents on a day-to-day basis. Because chances are good that your fellow drivers are not paying attention the way they should, perhaps checking a text when they should be watching for the driver changing lanes ahead of them.

If you, a friend or a family member were in an accident where there is obvious human error that caused damage to you or your vehicle, the first thing to do is to see if anyone needs medical attention and to report the accident to the proper officials.

Not too soon after this initial phase, it is wise to check with an attorney who has experience with personal injury and vehicle accidents. They can perform a number of services ranging from helping with your insurance claims to finding good doctors if you are injured. If there are major injury, trauma or perhaps you are out of work for a substantial period of time, an attorney will be helpful getting compensation to cover past, present and future expenses.


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