What are the fall and winter hazards that WV drivers face?

The weather can be hazardous for drivers in the fall and winter. Drivers will need to be careful during rainy, foggy, icy and snowy conditions.

One of the most dangerous times of the year for drivers in West Virginia is just around the corner. People can encounter weather hazards at any time of year, but cold weather tends to bring out the worst in drivers and weather-related conditions alike.

Adverse weather conditions may account for as many as 23 percent of all motor vehicle collisions in the country, according to the United States Federal Highway Administration. Every year, almost 1,312,000 accidents are attributed to poor weather, resulting in about 6,250 deaths and more than 480,000 injuries.

Fog, frost, rain and more in the fall

Drivers may be caught off guard by rapidly changing weather in the fall, states Esurance, as well as the weather turning from chilly to warm and then back again before settling into the cold of winter. Some of the common weather conditions that drivers encounter in autumn include frost, ice, rain and fog. Fallen leaves may combine with frost or mud to create slick roads. Shorter days mean additional glare from the sun during rush-hour traffic in the mornings and evenings. Also, although this issue is not weather-related, drivers will need to be aware of children walking or riding their bicycles to and from school.

Ice and snow dominate winter

As autumn transitions into winter, the days and nights get colder, roads get icier and there are more chances for drivers to encounter heavy rain, ice storms and blizzards. Strong winds may blow debris and branches across the road or into vehicles' paths. Fog and snow whiteouts reduce visibility, creating a dangerous condition on highways. Drivers can also encounter black ice on patches of road, especially at night or in the early morning. Black ice is particularly hazardous, since many drivers do not see it or mistake it for a wet patch of road.

Being aware and courteous while driving in adverse weather can contribute a great deal to fewer people being injured in accidents. The following tips may reduce the chances of getting into a weather-related crash:

  • Reduce speed when it is not safe to drive the posted speed limit, such as during stormy or foggy conditions.
  • Do not tailgate other vehicles, and give drivers plenty of room.
  • Watch out for pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles.
  • If the weather is bad, leave early to provide plenty of time to get to the destination.
  • When possible, stay home instead of going out in dangerous weather.

It is not always possible to prevent an accident in poor weather. Those who were injured by another driver's negligence may wish to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Charleston.