BLIZZARD OF 2016 On the Way? Myths of Winter Driving

26867865_mAs initial forecasts are pointing to the first major winter storm of 2016 hitting our region later this week, it’s a good time to separate facts from fiction when it comes to winter driving.

While taking it slow and putting down the cellphone will obviously help drivers avoid motor-vehicle accidents regardless of the road conditions, there are many myths out there when it comes to icy/snowy conditions. The list below was put together by and can be found in its entirety here.

Myth #1: Most serious icy road crashes are caused by careless drivers.

Studies indicate that most serious weather-related car car accidents result from drivers who were NOT operating their vehicles in a careless manner. In most cases, they are driving normally at reasonable speeds when they suddenly encounter ice and crash.
Myth #2: I’m a good driver, and I have the skill and experience to drive highway speeds in ice and snow conditions.
On the contrary, a common factor in many of the most serious and fatal auto crashes is overconfidence in one’s abilities and/or equipment.

Myth #3: Winter tires, 4WD, AWD, stability control, ABS and/or traction control allow for safe travel on icy roads at highway speeds.

“The reality is that there is no technology, no tire nor any vehicle type that allows SAFE travel on any type of icy road (snow, sleet or freezing rain) at speeds greater than 45mph. Not traction control, electronic stability control, 4WD, AWD, antilock brakes or the most expensive brand-new snow tires.”

Myth #4: Everyone should buy winter tires – that would prevent most icy road accidents.
See Previous myth

Myth #5: The worst icy road dangers are during big winter storms.
“The road ice hazard isn’t the minor fender-benders or slide-offs common during snowstorms. The real danger is the serious, highway-speed crashes during light icing events that take drivers by surprise.  Most accidents in snowstorms happen at the onset of the storm or on its fringes, where accumulations are lower.”

Myth #6: Salt, sand and plow truck crews are there to make roads safe for high-speed travel during snow and ice conditions, 100% of the time.

New Jersey’s road crews work extremely hard plowing and salting the roads to keep them passable.  However, they can only treat so many roads at a time and sometimes keeping up during a storm just isn’t possible.  Regardless, even roads that are treated aren’t usually in ideal condition or safe for traveling at highway speeds.

Myth #7: Icy roads are a bigger threat in colder climates where ice and snow is common.
“The fatality and death rates per mile and per hour of winter precipitation events are actually higher in regions that only see a handful of snow and ice events each year.”

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