New York residents should be aware that even a light amount of snow can cause more hazards on the road than a large-scale snowstorm. Multi-car wrecks during winter are a common occurrence, including one 50-vehicle pileup in Michigan that shut down a major highway. A senior meteorologist explained that there is a critical time after snow first falls on untreated roads during which drivers are unaware that the road surfaces have become unsafe. When drivers maintain their normal speeds under such conditions, a wreck or skid can occur.
Between 2004 and 2013, close to 25 percent of all traffic accidents in the United States occurred as a result of weather conditions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Seventeen percent of those were cold weather collisions that occurred when it was snowing or sleeting. A Northern Illinois University associate professor of meteorology explains that mild weather events are more dangerous than larger events due to heavier traffic conditions. Visibility is also likely to play a factor.
Researchers believe that a driver's perception of the conditions on the road determines safe driving behaviors. People should adapt to the changes of winter driving in order to pick out the subtle changes in road conditions. Car designs also make it more difficult to pay attention to changes on the roads due to amenities that block out sound and make the driving experience more comfortable. Perception also impacts how seriously people take the threat of dangerous winter weather.
People who have sustained a serious injury as a result of another driver failing to take weather and road conditions into account may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to see how best to seek compensation for the losses that have been sustained. The attorney can often use police investigation and weather reports in order to demonstrate that the other driver was negligent.