A wicked winter storm earlier this month spurred at least 260 North Carolina car accidents, according to Gov. Roy Cooper. That figure included crashes that occurred in a single six-hour span, between midnight and 6 a.m., just as the winter storm was blowing in, and it was still dark. At least four people reportedly were killed in weather-related traffic accidents.
An earlier wreck in Asheboro occurred when a vehicle with three occupants skidded off the icy interstate into a tree, killing one and seriously injuring three others.
Elsewhere in the country, the snow and ice storm wreaked havoc on roads. Deaths attributed to weather-related crashes – including a number of chain reaction collisions – were reported in Georgia, Virginia, and Kentucky. In Virginia, authorities said the slick roads were a factor in some 500 crashes – including one fatality – in a single day. Crashes were also reported across New England. In some areas, visibility was zero amid heavy snow and gusty winds. Police in Hartford, Connecticut responded to a nearly 30-vehicle pileup on the highway, where a snowstorm had dumped eight inches of snow. Officials posted photos of the wreckage, in which no one was seriously injured, and cautioned motorists to stay home unless it was absolutely necessary to travel. In Maryland, two people died in a 70-vehicle pileup in Baltimore, where a tanker truck carrying gasoline careened off the expressway and exploded. More than two dozen people were seriously injured, suffering from a range of conditions including head trauma and broken bones. Icy conditions were even reported on roads in Alabama and Mississippi, and winter weather advisories were issued from Maine to Colorado.
North Carolina doesn’t get the volume of snowfall and ice coverage that many of our Northern neighbors confront on an annual basis. But that also means that our infrastructure and our drivers may not be equipped or experienced in how to handle it when it does hit. Drivers think they will be able to handle it without issues, only to find out too late how challenging it can be to operate a vehicle in ice and snow.
AAA recommends that if at all possible, avoid heading out when the weather is bad. If you absolutely must go out, make sure you aren’t fatigued. A recent study by AAA revealed drowsy driving is estimated to be a factor in 20 percent of all fatal car accidents, and drivers who get less than seven hours of sleep may exponentially increase their crash risk. Foregoing just two to three hours increases the risk of a collision by 400 percent.
If you’re driving in the snow, you’ll need to slow down. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Don’t try to move fast, and make sure you give yourself enough time to slow down for a stop sign or traffic light. It takes a lot longer to slow down, stop, turn, or accelerate when the roads are icy.
Another tip especially pertinent here in the mountainous Asheville region is to not try to power up hills. You’ll need some inertia before you reach the hill that can carry you up to the top.
You also need to be familiar with your brakes. Remember that anti-lock brakes will vibrate when someone presses down hard on the pedals.
If you are involved in a North Carolina car accident, our experienced injury lawyers will help you determine your legal options.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Storm Causes 260 North Carolina, 60 Texas Vehicle Crashes, Jan. 7, 2016, ABC News
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States Increasingly Brake on Curbing Elderly Drivers, Jan. 9, 2016, Asheville Car Accident Lawyer Blog