Like in many other states, driving conditions in Ohio can become dangerous due to various factors and circumstances. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's FARS system, Ohio ranks ninth in the nation for having the most dangerous driving conditions.
In 2020, over 1,000 fatal crashes in Ohio occurred during rainy conditions. The most dangerous time to drive in Ohio is August to November when the state receives the most rain.
Car accidents often occur during rainy conditions due to:
- Reduced traction, which leads to skidding, especially at high speeds or on worn-out tires.
- Hydroplaning, which occurs when a layer of water builds up between the tires and the road, causing the vehicle to lose contact with the road surface and making it difficult to brake or steer.
- Visibility issues caused by dense fog or heavy rainfall, making it difficult to see other vehicles, road signs, lane markings, and obstacles.
As such, it's critical for motorists to adjust their driving to the conditions. Failure to do so can result in an accident with another vehicle or pedestrian, resulting in severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
How winter weather contributes to Ohio's dangerous driving conditions
Ohio experiences all four seasons, including harsh winters with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Winter conditions often lead to slippery roads and reduced visibility. About 374 of the state's fatal crashes in 2020 happened during snow and sleet.
Snow and ice accumulation on roadways can make it challenging for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. Additionally, rapid weather changes, such as sudden snowstorms or freezing rain, can catch drivers off guard, further adding to the danger.
Ohio's location in the Great Lakes region often leads to lake-effect snowfall. This happens when heavy snowfall is driven by cold air passing over the relatively warmer waters of Lake Erie. It intensifies winter weather in certain areas of the state.
The role of terrain in Ohio's dangerous driving conditions
Ohio's geography also plays a role in driving conditions. The state has diverse terrain, including flat plains and hilly areas, which can result in varying road conditions. Hilly regions, particularly in the Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio, can present steep grades and sharp curves that require careful navigation.
These geographical features and unpredictable weather can create challenging driving conditions that demand driver caution and experience.
Do weather and road conditions cause car accidents?
The road conditions themselves don't necessarily cause car accidents. However, they can be contributors. Many crashes during dangerous driving conditions result from speeding, distracted driving, impaired driving, and reckless driving. It's up to drivers to practice safe driving habits to avoid risking injury to themselves and other road users. This includes:
- Slowing down.
- Allowing a safe distance between vehicles.
- Staying attentive, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Avoiding driving through large and deep puddles.
- Planning travels ahead of time and allowing plenty of time to reach a destination.
What should I do after a car accident in dangerous driving conditions?
If you're involved in a crash where the weather and terrain were factors, there are certain steps you can take to build a strong car accident claim. First, check on yourself and others involved in the crash and call the police. While waiting for the police to arrive, take pictures of the damage, visible injuries, and the road conditions that likely contributed to the crash. These pictures can help prove that the at-fault driver failed to uphold their duty of care during hazardous conditions.
Next, get prompt medical attention, even if you feel okay. A doctor may discover hidden injuries that could produce symptoms within a few days. Plus, your medical diagnosis helps create a clear link between the crash and your injuries. Finally, contact an experienced Ohio car accident attorney at Gervelis Law Firm. We can investigate your crash, find the facts that matter, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
To get started, contact us online and schedule a free consultation. We'll answer your questions and help you understand your potential legal options. We have law offices across Ohio, including in Canfield, Warren, Akron, Columbus, and Toledo.