This week, Minneapolis experienced a winter weather advisory that closed schools and kept many people indoors. Minneapolis school officials decided to close schools when the mercury dropped to dangerously low levels. The weather was so cold that officials explained that people traveling outside could get frostbite in less than ten minutes. The Weather Channel posted winter storm warnings for the Minneapolis area.
Winter weather, particularly snowy days, are often associated with dangerous road conditions and tragic car accidents. However, a recent study revealed that fewer fatal car accidents might actually take place on snowy days than on dry days. An article published in the American Journal of Public Health correlated data across 48 states, linking recorded fatal crashes, personal injury crashes, and property damage accidents to the daily weather report.
The results were surprising.
While there were fewer fatal crashes on snow days than on dry days, there were more personal injury accidents and property damage accidents on snow days. The researchers also discovered that the most dangerous snow day of the year was, by far, the first snow day of the year, likely due to drivers getting re-accustomed to driving in snowy and icy conditions. Individuals need to carefully monitor speed and brake earlier in snow.
The researchers found that bad weather was responsible for more than 1.5 million crashes annually in the U.S. And, every year, 7,000 people die and 800,000 are injured as a result of adverse weather. These injuries, fatalities, and accidents come with a hefty price tag. These accidents cost victims, families, and communities $42 billion dollars annually.
The research is important because engineers have developed innovations that could make driving safer in poor weather, but these innovations would come at a potentially high cost.
The reality is that, though snowy conditions make driving more dangerous, snow days don’t necessarily need to be more dangerous. Experienced drivers tend to drive more slowly and take more precautions on snow days, and many people avoid travelling altogether on days when the weather is bad. Fewer people on the road results in fewer accidents.
The researchers found, that snow days, while they lead to fewer fatal crashes, actually cause an additional 45,000 personal injury crashes each year. These crashes have a huge human, emotional, and monetary toll on victims and families. Individuals miss time at work, require medical care, and sometimes face lifestyle changes. Fortunately, there are many preventative measures drivers can take to stay safe on the road. And, for those who have been injured on the road due to another driver’s negligence, the law affords protections that require negligent parties to pay for injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino understands that the winter season brings with it more personal injury accidents. If you’re a victim of a car accident, you need a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota who can help you recover damages for your injuries.