As a recent snowstorm swept through Pennsylvania, a winter storm warning was issued, during which upwards of 60 vehicles were involved in a crash on westbound Interstate 80. Reportedly, two people lost their lives in the incident, which took place not far from where two people died in a similar motor vehicle crash last year.
Most experienced drivers probably don’t consider the potential dangers of getting behind the wheel. However, it’s imperative to consider how winter conditions can increase risk.
The National Weather Service commonly issues alerts for hazardous weather conditions. Although it’s not always possible to stay off the road, motorists would be wise to take heed.
What drivers might anticipate during inclement weather
Snow, ice and wind can make travel infinitely more dangerous. When hazardous driving conditions are likely, the National Weather Service might issue a:
- Winter weather advisory – be aware of sleet, ice, snow or blowing snow
- Winter storm watch – prepare for significant conditions caused by the above
- Winter storm warning – travel may become impossible and ought to be delayed
Last year’s 125,267 statewide traffic incidents injured 76, 243 people. Another 1,059 people lost their lives due to crashes. However, the majority of motor vehicle accident fatalities do not happen during adverse weather.
Pennsylvania crash statistics
Sixteen of these fatalities occurred on icy roads. Snow and slush claimed the lives of 23 others, while wet surfaces accounted for another 170 fatalities. Meanwhile, 837 people died in crashes that happened on dry roads.
Motorists must proceed with extreme caution during times of decreased visibility and on unfavorable surfaces. Yet, this tragic winter accident might serve as a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with taking control of a motor vehicle.