Winter comes early in Wisconsin — and when it does, road conditions can quickly deteriorate. According to statistics from the National Weather Service, over the last 30 years, the normal seasonal snowfall over the entire state has averaged more than 40 inches. Some parts of the state regularly receive well over a hundred inches of snow in a season.
Meeting these challenging winter conditions on the road takes skill, experience, and attentiveness. Unfortunately, each winter, many Wisconsin drivers come up short, causing thousands of automobile accidents on the state’s roads.
Thousands of injuries result from winter car accidents every year in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation keeps detailed statistics on seasonal car accidents. According to the Wisconsin DOT, there are, on average, 20,000 motor vehicle crashes each winter season within the state.
In these crashes, 6,000 people are injured. On average, an additional 60 people die in fatal winter-related car accidents every year in Wisconsin.
Many winter car accidents involve snow, ice, or slush, and these weather factors are what most drivers worry about in cooler months. But, dense fog is another serious winter problem that does not receive as much attention. While fog can appear at any time of year, it is more common in cooler months. The Wisconsin DOT reports that dense fog is a factor in 1,200 car accidents every year, which result in approximately 700 injuries and 16 roadway fatalities.
By slowing down and driving with caution, Wisconsin motorists can avoid crashes
While winter weather conditions can make driving more complicated, most winter car accidents are preventable.
Drivers can take a number of precautions to protect themselves and other motorists during the winter. Some of the most important tips to drive safely in winter include:
- Drive slower, leaving plenty of room between vehicles; when weather conditions are unfavorable, drivers should leave at least three times as much space as usual between the vehicle in front of them.
- Apply pressure to brakes slowly but firmly to avoid skidding.
- Avoid using cruise control on icy roads.
- Keep your vehicle properly maintained to handle winter weather, including installing the correct tires, keeping wiper blades in good shape and washer fluid topped off, and keeping the lights and windshield clean.
Injured in a winter car accident? Call a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer
Most winter car accidents are preventable. But, there is a steep learning curve as drivers reacclimatize themselves to winter driving during the first few storms. Some drivers fail to exercise the caution they should even late in the winter, overconfident in vehicle safety features like four-wheel drive or ignorant of the adjustments they need to make to drive safely in frigid conditions.
If you were struck by a driver unprepared for winter weather, you may have legal remedies. A Wisconsin personal injury attorney can help you get the monetary recovery you deserve. Talk with a Wisconsin car accident attorney today if you have been injured in a winter car accident.