On average, Kentucky only receives 11 inches of snow each year — far below the national average of 28 inches. This past fall, however, parts of the Bluegrass State got its first dose of winter weather — resulting in several school closures. It only amounted to 1.6 inches, but the freezing temperatures reportedly caused patches of ice to form on some roadways.
In other parts of the U.S. that receiver greater amounts of snow, drivers tend to expect the inclement weather conditions. Thus, they are more prepared for it. In states like Kentucky that don't receive as much snow, however, it tends to take drivers by surprise.
Fatalities, injuries from winter accidents
When an unexpected 1-2" of snow falls, drivers often don't heed the warning. They continue to travel at speeds that are unsafe for conditions, change lanes abruptly, and make turns too quickly. The result: spinouts, collisions, and roadway departures. Even when the snow melts during the day, it often freezes on roadways overnight, resulting in black ice and other slick surfaces.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, from 2007-2016, more than 5,000 people were killed and more than 418,000 injured in crashes that occurred during inclement weather conditions. Here are the yearly averages for winter weather conditions:
- Snow/sleet: 688 deaths and 54,839 injuries
- Icy pavement: 521 deaths and 42,036 injuries
- Snow/slushy pavement: 496 deaths and 42,036 injuries
How to be prepared for winter driving
Serious and fatal crashes can be prevented when drivers plan ahead and give themselves extra time to reach their destinations. The Kentucky State Police offer these tips:
- Ensure that all windows and mirrors are clear of snow, ice, and frost.
- Anticipate longer commute time, expect delays and road closures, and allow more time.
- Keep a safe distance between cars to avoid a collision.
- Watch out for black ice on bridges, overpasses, and in shaded areas.
- Never use cruise control, as it can cause loss of vehicle control on slick surfaces
- Be careful when approaching intersections. Other drivers may slide through red lights.
- Always use turn signals when changing lanes or making turns.
- Be prepared by having a full tank of gas, a blanket, a cellphone charger, and other supplies.
- Notify family, friends, or coworkers about your travel route. In case you become stranded or are involved in a crash, this can make it easier for law enforcement to find you.
We can't blame all crashes during the winter on inclement weather conditions. Drivers who speed, drive erratically, or drive distracted are also responsible for crashes that occur this time of year (or any time of year). If you or a loved one was injured because of another driver's negligence, get an experienced Louisville car accident attorney on your side.
For more than 15 years, The Whaley Law Firm has successfully helped injured motorists and their families receive the compensation they deserve. We investigate crashes of all types and take on stubborn insurance companies.
Your crash wasn't your fault. You shouldn't have to pay. To get started on your claim, contact our law office and schedule your free consultation today.