In early January, Kansas residents were warned about an impending storm. The storm came on the heels of an ice storm in mid-December, and authorities were worried that the upcoming blizzard would lead to many auto accidents. Fortunately, News Press Now reports the impact of the storm was not as bad as feared and fewer accidents occurred than were anticipated. Approximately 82 accidents statewide were reported by Kansas Highway patrol during the storm. These accidents caused 18 injuries and one fatality, which happened in southeast Kansas.
Of course, just because the storm was not as bad as expected does not mean the news was good. Any accident can be disruptive to people's lives, especially to the injured victims and the family members of the person who was killed.
These two recent storms are just two of many likely to hit Kansas over the course of the winter. Motorists need to be aware of risks that come with bad winter weather and should make smart and safe choices to try to avoid car accidents at snowy and icy intersections or while anywhere on the road when conditions are bad.
Wherever you are on the road during a winter storm, you face risks because of the chances you will lose control of the car and because of the potential impact snow can have on visibility. Intersections tend to be especially dangerous places during storms because large numbers of motorists often congregate at intersections. This means if one single car gets out of control, many other vehicles could also be affected. Chain reaction collisions can happen, where one or more cars get into crashes and other vehicles are not able to stop or get out of the way.
Drivers need to be aware of the dangers and should take steps to try to reduce the chance they will become involved in accidents from snow and ice. Motorists should:
- Slow down. Ice on the roads means it will take you longer to stop the car. If snow is falling, you also won't see obstacles ahead of you as soon. You have to slow down and drive at a speed that is safe for the adverse conditions on the road.
- Leave space for other vehicles. You may not want to pull right up behind another car at an intersection, even if the car is stopped and waiting at a red light. If cars are crammed in together at the intersection, there will be nowhere for anyone to go if a single car begins to slide into others. A viral video available on NPR shows how a big chain reaction accident can happen when cars are in close quarters at an intersection. Even a snow plow and a police officer were not able to escape the multi-car pileup.
These are a few of the key things you can do to try to avoid crashes at intersections due to snow and ice on the roads. Remember, bad weather does not excuse your responsibility to drive safely. If you or someone you love is a victim of a collision caused by icy conditions, call Bretz & Young to learn more about how we can help.