When winter weather strikes, it can be a real doozy for Massachusetts drivers - especially for those who aren't prepared for a slower commute. Even prior to the official start of the winter season, drivers were taken by surprise when a massive November snowstorm dumped as much as nine inches of heavy, wet snow across our state. It resulted in power outages, traffic delays, and several crashes.
The same storm was a factor in multiple tractor trailer accidents along Interstate 90 east - causing police to temporarily close it down. A snowplow crash on Interstate 495 and another accident on Interstate 93 in Wilmington also caused delays.
The heightened risk
Whether you're traveling on the major highways, winding rural roads, or bustling streets, it's critical that road users are aware of the common risks associated with winter weather. These include:
- Dangerous highway conditions: Highways can be one of the most dangerous places to drive during winter weather. By default, drivers are already traveling at a high speed. Not all drivers are prepared to slow down when snow or ice comes unexpectedly. In December 2018, the roads in greater Springfield became compromised by ice. Within a 90-minute period, more than 40 traffic accidents were reported - including a jackknife truck accident on Interstate 91.
- Dangers for pedestrians: When roads are slippery, pedestrians are at a heightened risk of being struck. Additionally, snow plows can be hazardous to pedestrians walking along the side of a road or in a parking lot. In November, a Chicopee man sustained life-threatening injuries after being struck by a snow plow.
- Compromised visibility: Visibility can be compromised by whiteout conditions, blowing snow (after a snowstorm), heavy snow, blizzards, and snow squalls.
- Fluctuating temperatures: When the temperature rises significantly above freezing after a major snowstorm, or after seasonal accumulation, large puddles can form - which can put drivers at risk of hydroplaning. When temperatures suddenly drop below freezing during wet conditions, water on the road can freeze and become treacherous ice or even so-called "black ice."
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, about 24 percent of crashes caused by inclement weather are attributed to snow, slush, or ice. On average, 1,300 people are killed and 116,800 injured each year due to winter weather across the United States. About 15 percent of these accidents occur while snow or sleet is falling, resulting in an average of 900 deaths and 76,000 injuries.
Injured in a crash? Contact an attorney who will fight for you
There is nothing we can do to change the weather. However, traveling during inclement weather conditions only requires a few small changes - slow down, pay attention, and maintain a safe driving distance. But not all drivers are willing to heed such warnings.
We have all seen it: that one motorist who exceeds the speed limit or tailgates other drivers when it's clearly unsafe to do so. Too often, responsible drivers are the ones who pay. If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident, you shouldn't have to suffer the financial consequences because of someone else's negligent actions. That's why it's critical that you speak to an experienced Massachusetts auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
At the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone, we fight tirelessly to hold negligent drivers accountable and take on stubborn insurance companies. Get the Salomone advantage. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.