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Dangers of winter storm driving and safety tips

It is no secret that winter storm driving is a very real hazard in Rhode Island, but many want to know, just how dangerous is it to drive in the snow and other adverse weather conditions? According to Safe Winter Roads, very.

According to the organization, approximately 116,000 Americans are injured on snowy, icy or slushy roads each year, and more than 1,300 die in similar conditions. Approximately 900 individuals die in crashes during sleet or snowfall each year, and another 76,000 individuals sustain injuries.

For many, the numbers may seem high, but when one considers the prevalence rates of icy and snow-covered roads, the numbers no longer seem so exorbitant. For instance, more than 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions, “snowy” meaning the roads receive more than an average of five inches of snowfall on an annual basis. According to the stats, approximately 70 percent of the country’s population lives in these areas. Each year, nearly a quarter of annual weather-related car crashes occur on icy, snowy or slushy pavement.

The State of Rhode Island provides safety tips that residents can use to reduce their risks of getting into car accidents when weather conditions are less than ideal. For one, drivers should always prepare for adverse weather. Residents should have their cars tuned up for winter driving, which may include having their breaks and fluid levels checked and tires rotated or replaced. They should also monitor local weather reports and steer clear of the roads when bad weather is imminent. For when instances when driving is absolutely necessary, residents should keep their mobile phones charged and their vehicles packed with blankets, sweaters, shovels and salt.

When out on the road when bad weather hits, drivers should stay away from creeks, rivers and other bodies of water, as well as bridges if possible. They should drive slowly, take turns at slower than normal paces and leave wider than normal gaps between themselves and the vehicles in front of them. Drivers should also use low gears, keep lights on to increase visibility and brake gently. Finally, drivers should avoid back roads and drive on high-volume roads whenever possible.





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