Weather Worsens Odds for Motorists in Missouri
Studies have shown that human error is a factor in about 95 percent of car crashes. That said, Mother Nature deserves at least partial blame for a lot of weather-related crashes in the St. Louis area. Flash-flooding, icy roads, and winter storms pose significant dangers to drivers.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, from 2005 through 2014, weather was blamed for 22 percent of crashes, 19 percent of injuries, and 16 percent of fatalities nationwide.
On Missouri Roads, Weather Risks Come in Many Forms
The kind of weather that doesn’t always raise a red flag for motorists also can be risky. In fact, the weather that doesn’t always make a driver nervous takes the heaviest toll. Here’s the proof, drawn from annual averages of data from 2005 through 2014:
Wet pavement: 907,831 crashes, with 4,488 people killed and 352,221 injured
Rain: 573,784 crashes, with 2,732 people killed and 228,196 injured
Snow and sleet: 210,341 crashes, with 739 people killed and 55,942 injured
Icy pavement: 151,944 crashes, with 559 people killed and 38,770 injured
Snow and slush: 174,446 crashes, with 538 people killed and 41,597 injured
Fog: 28,533 crashes, with 495 people killed and 10,448 injured
The Department of Transportation says most of the serious accidents in bad weather happen on wet pavement and while it is raining. In fact, 73 percent of weather-related accidents occur on wet pavement, with 46 percent happening in rain.
If You Are Facing Snow and Ice on Missouri Roads
The best advice for driving in bad weather, in a word, is “don’t.” When staying home isn’t an option, there are ways to stay safe. The Missouri Department of Transportation is one source of good advice.
Winterizing the car – is a good defense against what Mother Nature can throw at drivers and vehicles, according to MoDOT. That means checking all fluids and replacing them as scheduled, making sure the battery is in good shape, and ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained, bumper-to-bumper.
Do a pre-trip check – of tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and wiper fluid. When the challenge is snow and ice, carry a flashlight and extra batteries, a first-aid kit, necessary medications, blankets and/or sleeping bags, warm clothing and rain gear, a sack of sand to use for traction under your wheels, a small shovel, jumper cables, tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver), a brightly colored cloth to use as a flag, nonperishable food, and bottled water.
Once you have your gear stowed and finally hit the road – preferably after roads have been plowed and treated:
Adjust your speed to the conditions.
Give snowplows plenty of room, and don’t pass them.
Always wear your seat belt.
Remember that driving is most dangerous when temperatures are near 32 degrees.
Watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions.
Keep mirrors, windows, and lights clean. Keep your lights on.
Don’t pass other vehicles on or near bridges.
Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving, pull off the highway at the first safe place and park.
If You Are Driving in the Rain on St. Louis Roads
MoDOT also has some useful tips for safe driving in rainy weather:
- Adjust your speed to the conditions.
- Don’t use cruise control, and keep a safe distance between your car and other vehicles.
- If it’s raining enough to warrant the use of windshield wipers, turn on your headlights.
- Never ignore barricades erected to warn of a high-water risk.
- If you can’t tell how deep the water is, stay out of it.
And if you get in a risky driving situation you are unfamiliar with, remember that common sense can help you avoid a car accident caused by weather in St. Louis.
Stay Informed to Stay Safe in Missouri
MoDOT puts a lot of information at the fingertips of tech-savvy motorists and even those with nothing more than an old-fashioned telephone:
- A travel information map gives an online view of road conditions and is available as phone apps for Android and iPhones.
- A toll-free customer service center provides up-to-date road conditions 24/7 at (888) 275-6636.
- And there is a MoDOT website where you can get the lowdown on how it decides which roads are plowed first and shows you the right way to keep your driveway cleared.
Human error can be the main or a contributing factor in a car accident that happens in lousy weather. If so, seek legal help from a St. Louis car accident law firm familiar with the ins and outs of weather-related cases.
Contact The Bruning Law Firm for Help with a Car Crash Case
All the care and preparation in the world can’t guarantee you won’t be in an accident. If the worst does happen, The Bruning Law Firm can help you pursue the compensation you need to get back on your feet. Anthony Bruning and sons A.J. and Ryan are St. Louis-born and raised and have in-depth knowledge of St. Louis and its court system.
If you have been injured in a car wreck in St. Louis or the surrounding area, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Our legal team has extensive experience in litigating auto accidents, and we have earned the recognition of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Top 100 Trial Lawyers.