Ohio Ranked 4th Deadliest Winter Driving State
Columbus car accident lawyers explain how to avoid a winter driving accident
Winter weather can wreak havoc on drivers. From snow and ice to sleet and freezing rain, highways and roads can become treacherous in an instant. And when that happens, car accidents often occur.
While winter driving accidents can happen anywhere, they're more common in states with severe winter weather. And right near the top of the list is Ohio, which was recently rated the fourth-deadliest state for winter driving accidents nationwide.
Why is Ohio so dangerous? Which parts of the state have the most winter weather-related accidents? And what can drivers do to avoid a crash in the wintertime? Below, you can learn more about all these topics, courtesy of our team of experienced Columbus car accident attorneys.
How dangerous is Ohio for winter driving accidents?
ValuePenguin conducted a nationwide study examining weather-related winter accidents. The study measured weather-related vehicle fatalities caused by snow, sleet or ice. In particular, the study examined the total number of fatalities in each state between 2013 and 2017.
During that five-year time period, Ohio had the fourth-highest number of weather-related winter car accidents. A total of 172 people died in such accidents in Ohio. The other four states in the top five were also in the Midwest or the Northeast.
And while such accidents happened throughout Ohio, the city with the most weather-related winter car accident fatalities was Columbus, which recorded seven road deaths. Two highways that pass through Columbus had the most winter-related deaths among Ohio highways – I-71 (seven deaths) and I-70 (six deaths).
Why do weather-related winter accidents happen?
While hazardous weather can be a contributing factor, mistakes made by other drivers also come into play. Often, the at-fault driver did something they should not have been doing on the road that contributed to the accident. Such negligent or reckless behavior can include:
- Not clearing snow or ice off the windshield before driving, making it hard to see.
- Driving too fast during a snowstorm or blizzard.
- Texting, looking up directions or not paying attention while driving in other ways.
- Tailgating other cars, which can be especially dangerous on snow or ice. If either vehicle needs to suddenly slow down, there’s no room to avoid a rear-end accident.
- Illegally passing slower vehicles, resulting in a head-on collision or intersection accident.
These are just some of the reasons why accidents happen in winter in Ohio. Whatever the cause of your crash, make sure you fully understand your rights. Make sure you talk to a lawyer right away.
What can drivers do to avoid a winter accident?
While driving in winter can be dangerous, there are steps drivers can take to try to stay safe on the road. Such steps include:
- Have your car checked by your mechanic. In particular, ask them to check your tires, brakes, and windshield wipers. They all need to be in good working order in winter.
- Pack an emergency safety kit in case you get stranded in a winter storm. Your safety kit should include blankets, a flashlight, food, water, a cellphone charger, and a shovel.
- Check the weather forecast before you head out. If hazardous winter weather is coming, consider delaying your trip.
- If you have to drive in the snow, go slow. Many winter-related accidents happen due to speeding.
- Leave extra space between your car and other vehicles.
- Don’t slow down or accelerate too fast. Gently tap your brakes or the gas pedal on snow or ice.
What should I do if I’m involved in a winter car accident?
If you are involved in a weather-related accident caused by another driver, take the following steps:
- Call the police and tell them you’ve been in a crash.
- If the weather is hazardous outside, wait inside your vehicle with the flashers on.
- If someone saw your accident, get the witness’ name and phone number.
- Have a medical professional examine you, even if you feel fine.
- Get the other driver’s full name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
- Don’t discuss your accident with the other driver or anyone else other than your attorney.
- Call a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
The sooner you have a lawyer investigating your accident, the better. An experienced attorney can gather evidence in support of your injury claim and advocate for your legal rights. This is especially important if the other driver claims the crash happened simply due to bad weather, not their reckless behavior.
The dedicated Columbus car accident lawyers at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC can help you every step of the way. We have decades of experience investigating crashes and obtaining the money injury victims rightfully deserve. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with an attorney at our Columbus office. We handle accident claims throughout Ohio and West Virginia.