Winter is coming, and the number of traffic accidents is likely to rise. Winter conditions—more dark, more snow, and more ice—combine to create conditions in which collisions or unsafe driving may become more frequent. For example, 49% of all fatal car crashes occur at night, according to Forbes, and once daylight savings time ends, there will simply be more night. In addition, according to the American Journal of Public Health (AJPA), car crashes that cause injury, either to people or property, are more frequent in snow—particularly on the first snow of the year, when the number goes up dramatically.
The AJPA points out that inclement weather is estimated to cause 7,000 deaths, 800,000 injuries, and more than 1.5 million vehicle accidents per year nationwide. Poor weather is associated with more than 25% of crashes and almost 20% of deaths in total. And weather-related accidents cost $42 billion yearly.
However, winter conditions do not have to necessarily result in accidents. There are many ways to prevent injury or damage. Below are four steps to take.
- Be sure to use your headlights while driving. Headlights make driving safer; other cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists can see you, and you can see them.
- Buy and wear reflective clothing if you, family members, or loved ones are walking or bicycling.
- Use lights if you are walking or biking. Invest in tail and headlights for a bicycle and always use a flashlight if you are going to be walking in the dark—for example, accompanying kids to school
- Keep an emergency winter safety kit in your car. This could include flares, reflectors, a shovel, jumper cables, blankets, water, and energy bars.