Driving safety a must in winter weather

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Transportation incidents continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job deaths in the U.S., especially during severe weather conditions.

During inclement weather we experience all winter long, drivers are urged to be even more cautious when driving, not only for their passengers and themselves, but for fellow travelers and the thousands of workers whose vehicles are their office, such as law enforcement personnel, firefighters, emergency responders, post office workers, truck drivers, utility workers and more.

Adverse weather conditions reduce roadway safety, capacity and efficiency, and are often the catalyst for triggering congestion which can lead to more accidents.

In the U.S. each year, approximately 7,000 roadway deaths and 450,000 injuries are associated with poor weather-related driving conditions. Weather plays a role in approximately 30 percent of all crashes and accounts for 20 percent of all roadway fatalities.

In addition to the intangible toll these crashes cause, the economic toll of weather-related deaths, injuries and delays in the U.S. is estimated at $42 billion per year.

Besides driving too fast for weather conditions, some of the leading causes of fatal roadway crashes are failure to keep in the proper lane or running off the road; driving too fast for conditions or in excess of the posted speed limit; driving under the influence; failure to yield the right of way; distracted driving; operating in an erratic/reckless manner; and, failure to obey traffic signs, signals.

The relatively new phenomenon - talking on cell phones and texting while driving - is only adding sharply to those death and injury tolls on our roadways.

Motorists, please obey our traffic laws and consider and employ all safety factors before you drive your vehicle anywhere. As they say, the life you save may be your own.