How dangerous are roads in the wintertime? Plenty if drivers are not cautious since the highways and streets may occasionally become slick, icy and filled with snow. Add inexperienced, nervous and reckless drivers, and you may have collisions that lead to serious injuries and fatalities.
Pennsylvania is not immune to such scenarios. According to personal finance website MoneyGeek, the Keystone State ranks as the sixth most dangerous state to drive during the winter. Combine freezing drizzle, sleet, snow and blowing snow, and you have the elements of a potential skidding motor vehicle accident.
Three years of data reviewed
In coming up with Pennsylvania’s alarming ranking, MoneyGeek based its findings on data collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for the years 2018 to 2020.
Three neighboring states – Ohio (4), West Virginia (15) and New York (20) – made the dubious distinction of making the Top 20 list of most dangerous states to drive during winter.
During the three-year period that the agencies tallied the statistics, Pennsylvania recorded 84 winter road fatalities. That number represented the third most deaths of any state, ranking behind Michigan (146) and Ohio (100).
Important driving tips
Drivers must be well aware of winter road conditions. Some crucial winter driving tips include:
- Maintain safe speeds: It remains prudent to drive slowly and cautiously. Being in a hurry and driving too fast for conditions are ingredients that may lead to crashes and spinouts, potentially leading to serious injury.
- Increase following distance: You gain a greater stopping distance when doing so. Consider changing the four-second distance rule to as much as eight seconds when inclement weather affects roads.
- Brake efficiently: Pump standard brakes, while pressing and holding anti-lock brakes.
- Slow acceleration and deceleration: Tire traction improves when following this driving guideline. The results may decrease any chance of skidding.
Abiding by these guidelines just may prevent a crash, potentially leading to life-changing or fatal injuries.
Understand the dangers
Face it. Pennsylvania roads may be treacherous during the winter. All it takes is one reckless and negligent driver to cause a collision. Remain careful and cautious on state roads and understand that danger may surface at any time.