As temperatures drop and the year comes to a close, many people around the country are preparing for wintertime driving. While some regions of the country have the equipment to handle driving in inclement weather, other areas — where snowfall isn’t as common an occurrence — may struggle to stay safe on icy and snow-covered roadways. An unexpected snowstorm can spell disaster for a driver not used to such conditions.
One recent study, based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation and compiled by MoneyGeek, looked at which states are safest for winter driving. The results may be surprising in some instances, but South Carolina ranked right in the middle, at number 25. That isn’t necessarily cause for celebration, as the same data awarded the Palmetto State a safe driver score of only 3. Here is what you can learn from this study to avoid motor vehicle accidents in the winter.
How snow and ice factor into crashes
The U.S. DOT reports that over 1,300 people die each year to collisions involving a snow- or ice-covered road. This type of weather increases the chance of a crash, as nearly 40% of crashes in which weather is a factor happen in wintery conditions. Over 70% of this nation’s roads experience over 5 inches of snowfall each year. While South Carolina’s snowfall can vary year-to-year, the MoneyGeek study ranked drivers here as very unsafe, so the chances of being in a serious accident when it does snow may be high.
Other states in the northeast that experience more snowfall ranked safer on the winter driving analysis. In fairness, vehicles in those regions may be more likely to utilize safety measures such as winter tires and all-wheel drive. Humidity can play a role as well, making roads icier than one might find in northern, drier climates.
How to protect you and your family while driving in the winter
In the event of snowfall here in South Carolina, there are ways for you to reduce the chance of being in a crash. Keep up with any vehicle maintenance appointments, replacing any worn-out parts before the cold starts. This includes checking your tires for worn-down tread or any punctures. Having newer tires and better tread can help you maintain control in the event of a crash on a snowy road. It is also a good idea to prep your car with emergency items, such as an ice scraper.
Even with all of these precautions, motor vehicle accidents can still happen in any type of weather. If you or someone you love has received an injury in a crash because of another driver’s actions, you may want to pursue legal action. Sometimes, that is the best protection of all.