Now that winter driving is upon us, we have a bad habit of blaming snowy or icy roads for "causing" traffic crashes -?they don't! Although we love to blame someone else or something else for our mistakes, in reality, snow and ice can't cause crashes - they are certainly a contributing factor, but the real cause is our failure to recognize just how slippery conditions are, or how much extra stopping distance is required or just how slowly we must take a curve under slippery conditions.
I love to use the following direct quote from the Loss Control Department of Utica National Insurance Group. It states: "Rain, snow, fog, sleet, or icy pavements have never caused an accident."
Surprised at the above statement? You shouldn't be! If you stop and think about this quote from Utica National and give some critical thought to your own driving habits, you should realize that adverse weather conditions are not a valid excuse for losing control of your vehicle. These conditions merely increase the hazards of driving. The real cause is failure to adjust driving to the prevailing weather conditions, or to think that you are such a good driver that you can still drive fast even though the road conditions dictate otherwise.
Failure to utilize proper winter equipment can also contribute to winter crashes. Included here could be failure to use snow tires or chains, failure to clean off your headlights and taillights, trying to drive without a clear, unobstructed windshield and rear window, and failure to use your headlights to make yourself more visible to other drivers under adverse conditions.
A number of years ago, a secretary arrived late at work on a snowy morning. She was complaining that she had gone off the road because "they hadn't plowed and sanded the roads good enough." I asked her if perhaps she was driving a bit too fast for those snowy roads. At least she admitted that was the case - give her credit for that.
Weather forecasts are pretty accurate now, at least in the short term. So then why don't we get up a little earlier and start out earlier when we expect adverse driving conditions? If you have an answer, please let me know.
Meanwhile, don't blame vehicle crashes on weather conditions - the blame lies with the driver who failed to recognize that a potential slippery condition might exist and thus neglected to reduce his/her speed, and/or failed to properly equip or present his or her vehicle in a proper manor for the poor weather conditions.
Take responsibility for your vehicle's condition and for your driving actions, and don't blame the weather.
For more articles on traffic law and safety, go to the traffic safety board's website, www.franklincony.org, and click on "Traffic Safety Board" under departments then look for Did You Know articles under "services." You can now "Like" Franklin County Traffic Safety Board on Facebook as well.