Do you know what weather conditions can create the most danger for Colorado drivers?
American motorists have plowed through inundations of rain and treacherous ice and snow storms in the past few weeks. Here in Colorado, the weather can vary widely within short distances, so knowing how to react to all kinds of road conditions is key to keeping yourself, your passengers, and others on the road safe.
Weather conditions can change quickly.
Using data from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a national consulting firm analyzed traffic statistics over 10 years (2007-2016) and noted that each year more than 5,000 people were killed and 418,000 injured due to weather-related car accidents. Evaluating the weather conditions that created the most danger, researchers noted:
- Wet pavement caused more than 70 percent of those crashes and resulted in nearly 80 percent of the fatalities.
- In wet-pavement crashes, rain was the number one culprit, accounting for 46 percent of vehicle crashes and 47 percent of weather-related fatalities.
- Snow and sleet were behind rain with 17 percent of weather-related crashes, resulting in 13 percent of the fatalities.
- Ice, snow, slushy conditions, and fog rounded out the remaining reasons for weather-related crashes.
A big reason why rain is the worst weather condition for driving is tires. Rain, or any wet condition, will cause your tires to lose traction and this can be extremely dangerous if your car begins to hydroplane, which causes the tires to separate from the road, resulting in uncontrollable skidding or sliding. That’s why it’s vital that car owners keep tires properly inflated and replace them when the tread begins to wear down.
In addition to the tires, there are other things you must be aware of if you are moving about in the rain:
- Braking can become more difficult. Even cars with newer tires can slide on wet roads, so you must slow down in wet weather and give yourself enough time to brake, so you don’t run into the back of the vehicle in front of you.
- Always have your headlights on, even in a sprinkle, as it makes it easier for other drivers to see you.
- Never use the cruise control in rainy weather. If you should hydroplane with the cruise control on, it could cause your vehicle to accelerate.
- And, always avoid standing water if possible, as you can lose control of your vehicle if you hit a deep puddle.
In Colorado, winter weather creates deadly conditions.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted that in 2017, there were more 37,000 traffic fatalities in the United States; with 648 of those deaths occurring right here in Colorado. When it comes to best and worst states for traffic deaths, Colorado sits just about in the middle ranking — 26th overall for the state with the most traffic fatalities.
When it comes to wintery weather, the Centennial State ranks among the safest states to drive in during snow. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t review safety tips regularly, especially if you are a new resident in the state or a recently licensed driver.
The bottom line is being prepared, whether it’s for rain, snow, or sleet. It can take just a few seconds to turn a normal drive into a potential disaster if you aren’t ready to handle every changing road condition that can occur this time of year.