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Black Ice on Winter Roads: Deadly and Invisible

Steve Wagner

According to Icyroadsafety.com, there was a minimum of 458 fatalities between 2009-2010 due to wintry road conditions. There reports reflect all of the media reported fatalities, and admittedly lack those that went unreported in the media.

Based on statistical findings over the last few years, there are an average of 467 fatalities per year due to icy road accidents. Indiana was home to 14 of these accidents between December of 2009 and February of 2010. The variables in the accidents were all different (some involving train collisions, semi-truck collisions, trees, ponds, other vehicles, and even school buses), except for one: ice.

Icy roads are deadly, and sometimes, invisible. Black ice can sometimes cover pavement, making the roads look clear and calm, even though they are slick and incredibly dangerous. Icy roads can occur in a number of different types of weather, including: snow, sleet, rain/freezing rain, low floodwaters, hail, fog, and even frost.

Here are a few tips to keep you safe on the icy roads this winter:

  • Stay home! While it may be unavoidable for some to venture out into the bad weather, if you have any choice in the matter, just stay at home and wait for the roads to thaw out.
  • If you do have to drive, drive very slowly. Speed is a major factor in icy road accidents, and by driving slowly and taking your time, you can handle your car better and manage any sliding or drifting your vehicle might do on the ice.
  • Watch for any oncoming weather. It’s one thing to drive on the ice, but it’s far too dangerous to attempt driving on the ice while it’s still snowing or raining. If a storm is coming, stay indoors!
  • Don’t ride your brakes. Braking on the ice can often make problems worse, taking away your car’s traction and causing you to slide further. If you need to stop, start at a further distance than you normally would, and apply your brakes lightly and in pulses, rather than holding them down.
  • Always travel with emergency supplies in your vehicle. If you get stranded in a snowbank or on the side of an icy road, you will be glad to have things like water, snacks, blankets, a car maintenance kit, and other cold weather items with you.

If you are involved in an accident:

  • Get off the road. If your vehicle is still drivable, move it out of the roadway as quickly as you can. Staying on the road with an immobile vehicle is the fastest way to cause a multiple-car accident.
  • Stay in your car. If you can’t get your vehicle off the road, stay in your vehicle. It is probably safer than standing in the roadway
  • Call the authorities as soon as possible. In bad conditions, it will always emergency personnel longer to respond to calls, so the sooner you can call them, the sooner they will be able to assist you.

If you are involved in an icy road accident this winter, remember the lawyers of Wagner Reese are here to assist you with your recovery. Give us a call at (888) 204-8440 to schedule your free vehicular accident consultation.

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