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Legal Blog

Top Causes of Winter Car Accidents

For a great deal of the country, winter means having to deal with ice, snow, and sleet. It is probably not a surprise to learn that 24 percent of all crashes are weather-related. Weather-related means that the crashed occurred in one or more of the following conditions– rain, sleet, snow, fog, wet pavements, and ice.

While most people may suspect that ice and snow are the most dangerous winter driving hazards, the vast majority of weather-related accidents occur on wet pavement or during rainfall, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). In fact, rain is by far the most common adverse weather event and accounts for 46 percent of the nearly 1,259,000 weather-related crashes each year in the United States.

Although ice and snow are certainly possible in Texas, the top causes of winter car accidents are the conditions created by rain and fog. In fact, Texas has an average rainfall of 24.58 inches during the winter months (December – February) and 2015 was the wettest year on record for the state. Rain was a factor in 57,958 crashes in Texas in 2015, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Rain is the Greatest Weather-Related Threat to Drivers During the Winter

According to the Auto Insurance Center, rain was responsible for more crash fatalities than snow in 39 of the 50 states between 2009 and 2013. It is estimated that rain-related crashes result in 3,300 deaths and 330,200 injuries each year.

There are a number of reasons rain and wet conditions increase the likelihood of an accident including:

  • Less cautious driving in wet conditions than in ice, sleet, or snow
  • Poor visibility
  • Slick roads, especially if there has been an extended period without precipitation as oil residue can build up over time
  • Hydroplaning
  • Lane submersion due to standing water
  • Driving too fast for conditions

Dangers of Driving in Fog

Fog is another driving hazard Texans are more likely to face during the winter. Research has shown that fog-related crashes are most likely to occur during winter months, early in the morning, and in rural areas. According to a study by the American Automobile Association (AAA), accidents that occurred in the fog caused 155 percent more fatalities per crash than those is clear weather.

Fog is considered to be one of the most dangerous weather hazards because it can develop rapidly and reduces visibility to less than 5/8 of a mile. This can mean that objects are not visible until the last minute and that drivers must reduce their speed to avoid unexpected hazards.

Based on data from The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the Gulf Coast region experienced some of the highest numbers of fatal crashes involving fog. In 2015, fog was a contributing factor in 1,417 crashes in Texas. Fog also played a role in a 140-car pile-up near Beaumont, Texas in 2012, which killed two and injured dozens more.

How a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Can Help After A Winter Car Accident

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our Houston car accident attorneys have more than four decades of experience handling claims involving catastrophic injuries. We will work tirelessly to help you obtain the maximum compensation possible for your losses so that you can focus your time and energy on recovery. We have the resources, skills, and knowledge it takes to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today at (281) 283-8500 to speak with one of our qualified Houston car accident lawyers. We offer a free case evaluation and you pay no fees unless you obtain compensation for your injuries