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Automobile Accident Attorney – Winter Driving & Accident Facts

February 6, 2015 by The Parrish Law Firm

Parrish Law Firm, PLLC would like to provide you with information on how to keep yourself and your family safer this year while driving in hazardous winter conditions.

According to IceRoadSafety.com “accidents on icy roads kill at least twice the number of people annually than all other severe weather hazards COMBINED (tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, floods, high winds). Annual injuries number well into the thousands, with many millions in property damage. Icy roads are a threat to life and property that just about everyone will face each winter.”

IceRoadSafety.com provides a list of the top 7 Myths about driving in the snow and on ice. They are as follows:

Myth #1: Most serious icy road crashes are caused by careless drivers.

While it is true that some accidents on icy roads are the result of drivers not exercising due care in the face of a visually apparent hazard, the actual data shows that many cannot be classified this way. The reports show that it is everyday people, like you and me, who are driving at normal speeds when they suddenly and unexpectedly encounter ice and crash. Most of the more serious accidents result from drivers who were not operating their vehicles in a careless manner, but had no advance warning of an icing hazard being present before they encountered it. This is especially true for bridge icing, which will have few visual indicators until the driver is about to cross the bridge.

Myth #2: I’m a good driver, and I have the skill and experience to drive highway speeds in ice and snow conditions.

No one has the skill to drive at normal highway speeds on icy roads. A factor in many of the serious and fatal crashes is overconfidence in one’s abilities and/or equipment (traction control, antilock brakes, stability control, and good tires).

Read more on this topic: No vehicle can safely go highway speeds on icy roads

Myth #3: Winter tires, 4WD, AWD, stability control, ABS and/or traction control allow for safe travel on icy roads at highway speeds.

The reality is that there is no technology, no tire nor any vehicle type that allows SAFE travel on any type of icy road (snow, sleet or freezing rain) at speeds greater than 45mph.

Myth #4: People should buy winter tires, they would prevent most icy road accidents.

While winter tires certainly do improve traction and handling to some degree during icy conditions, they do not allow a vehicle to safely travel at normal highway speeds when roads are icy (see the previous myth). Most fatal accidents happen at high speeds, a condition that is beyond the limits of winter tires to completely prevent a loss of control.

Myth #5: The worst icy road dangers are during big winter storms.

The road ice hazard isn’t the minor fender-benders or slide-offs common during snowstorms. The real danger is the serious, highway-speed crashes during light icing events that take drivers by surprise.

Snow accounts for the most icy road fatalities during the winter, but it is the minor events – from a dusting to a couple of inches of accumulation – that cause the most serious snow-related accident outbreaks.

Myth #6: Salt, sand and plow truck crews are there to make roads safe for high-speed travel during snow and ice conditions, 100% of the time.

DOT salt and plow crews exist to keep roads passable during ice and snow conditions. They cannot be everywhere at once, and icy patches are still a threat even with rigorous plowing and salting. A treated and plowed road is nonetheless still not safe at highway speeds. Patches of ice are common on treated roads, and during heavier precipitation, treated roads can re-ice quickly.

Myth #7: Icy roads are a bigger threat in colder climates where ice and snow is common.

The fatality and death rates per mile and per hour of winter precipitation events are actually higher in regions that only see a handful of snow and ice events each year.

Snow/Ice Fatalities Virginia

2009 – 2010 Winter Season

Date Location Fatalities Icing** Seatbelt Notes
2/6/2010 Wytheville, VA 2 SN N/A I-81, semi secondary crash
2/2/2010 Hurt, VA 1 PL US 29, head-on collision
1/5/2010 Bristol, VA 1 SN Wallace Pike, collision with tree
12/18/2009 Carrol County, VA 1 SN No Route 664, collision with fence
12/14/2009 Lynchburg, VA 1 FZFG Old Graves Mill Road, head-on collision
12/14/2009 Winchester, VA 2 FZFG No (2) Shawnee Drive, head-on collision withschool bus
12/5/2009 Augusta Springs, VA 1 SN Yes Route 42, 1996 Ford van, crash intotree
12/5/2009 Swannanoa, VA 1 SN N/A Route 250 at I-64, Ford F-350, head-on collision
Total: 10 Deaths 2009-2010 – Virginia


Based on news media reports, there were at least 477 deaths due to icy roads in the United States during the 2008-2009 winter season and at least 458 during the 2009-2010 winter season in the United States.

The National Weather Service www.nationalweatherservice.com is a great source to check weather conditions before you leave home and drive your car. Planning ahead can save lives.

The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC Personal Injury Car Accident Attorney works with Northern Virginia residents who have been injured because of another party’s negligence and are looking for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation or call us at 703-906-4229.

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A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.

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