I was driving with my family through Cheyenne, Wyoming last week. The weather had been nice and comfortable, but one day a thunderstorm warning was issued.
The warning stated that 70 mph winds were expected, with hail the size of marbles and both lighting and thunder.
Sure enough, the storm came through just as predicted.
Avoid driving in extreme weather
No one really tracks the number of people who get into car crashes while they’re on vacation, or driving somewhere unfamiliar. (If you are aware of any such tracking, please let me know.)
But we do know that July and August have the highest rate of the crash deaths, according to IIHS, with an average of 116 per day. The next deadliest months: June, October and September.
A separate study by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company also showed members reporting more crashes in August. Specifically, August 2 was noted as the deadliest day of the year on the road.
“The first week of the month is prime vacation time, putting more cars on the road
and therefore more chances for an accident.”
It seems that Americans just drive more miles in summer months. The higher the number of VMT (vehicle miles traveled), the higher the crash rate.
I thought about this as I drove down the highway in Wyoming, and watched the storm clouds approaching.
In my 30+ years as a personal injury lawyer, I have seen too many extreme weather crashes that didn’t need to happen. And I worry that it will continue to get worse.
As summer weather across the U.S. gets warmer, more motorists will find themselves in excessive heat and thunderstorms. Monsoon rains are becoming more common in the southwest. Hurricanes and tornadoes bring not only heavy rain and high winds, but dangerous interruptions to our road systems.
On average, nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 418,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year.
Most are related to rain and wet pavement.
How Do Weather Events Impact Roads?, Federal Highway Administration
It’s easy to forget that weather can have a big impact on road conditions – especially for drivers who are not familiar with the area and the route.
If you are heading out on a summer road trip, be sure to check weather conditions. Remember that roadways are very slick as rain is just starting to fall.
And if you see a thunderstorm rolling down the highway ahead, just pull over and watch it pass.
– Attorney Kevin Coluccio
Most “car accidents” are not accidental
You might notice that we don’t use the word “accident” very often. That’s because most “car accidents” – even those related to extreme weather – are not actually accidents.
They are the predictable, preventable result of bad driving choices.
Choices like speeding through heavy rains, or driving through 6 inches of water on the roadway.