Wyoming Named Worst State for Winter Driving
Using statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2016, independent review website SafeWise declared the Cowboy State to be the most dangerous for winter driving. And it’s not surprising why. Wyoming ranks number two in annual snowfall, just behind New York State. Plus, our state has a lot of square miles and the smallest population in the U.S. So, we Wyomingites do a lot of driving—regardless of the weather.
SafeWise came to its conclusion that Wyoming was the worst state for winter driving by calculating the likelihood of a crash in snowy conditions per 100,000 people in a state. Wyoming residents have a 1.5 chance of being in an accident. The state that ranked second was Vermont—with a 0.8 chance.
To celebrate this achievement, we at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., want to talk about winter driving safety.
Winter Driving Tips
If you live in Wyoming, you’re going to do some winter driving. Here are tips that will help you stay safe on the road:
• Check those tires: Snow tires are recommended. They outperform all-season tires in snowy conditions. Make sure your tires have adequate tread and are properly inflated.
• Add new windshield wipers: Install new windshield wiper blades before the first snow. Make sure your washer reservoir is full with de-icer fluid.
• Slow down: Sleet, snow, and ice can triple stopping distances for vehicles. Anticipate stops and brake sooner than you would in good weather.
• Turn on your lights: Snowy and overcast conditions make it harder to see. Turning on your headlights will help you be see and be seen.
• Never use cruise control: Remember, you’re smarter than your car.
• Accelerate and make turns more slowly: You want to avoid skidding or spinning out.
• Never slam on the brakes: Instead, pump the brakes on slippery roadways. If you do start to skid, steer into the skid—this will usually keep you from spinning out.
• Remember that bridges and overpasses tend to be more slippery than roadways.
• Keep a winter survival kit in your car.
Your Winter Survival Kit
Before you head out, tell someone where you’re going, what route you’re going to take, and what time you expect to arrive. If anything goes wrong, they’ll know. Also, be prepared. In addition to having your winter survival kit, always keep your gas tank at least half full.
Your winter survival kit should include:
• Collapsible snow shovel
• Small broom
• Windshield scraper
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Battery-powered radio
• High-calorie food, such as energy bars
• Small candles and cigarette lighters
• Warm clothes, and extra caps, gloves, and socks in case they get wet
• Pocket knife, Swiss Army Knife, or Leatherman
• First-aid kit
• Necessary medications
• Sleeping bag and blankets
• Tow chain or tow rope
• Sand or kitty litter
• Jumper cables
• Reflectors and emergency flares
• Cell phone adapter and charger
• Fluorescent distress flag
Winter Survival Tips
If you do find yourself stranded in snowy conditions, we have more advice for you. Here are our winter survival tips:
• Stay with your vehicle if you’re in an isolated area. Don’t try to walk and find help.
• Call 911 if you have a cell phone signal. Give the 911 operator your location, to the best of your knowledge, and tell them how many people are in the vehicle and if anyone is injured.
• Hang your fluorescent distress flag where it is most likely to be seen.
• If it’s nighttime, light emergency flares or keep your dome light on. Rescuers will be able to see you from a greater distance. To avoid draining your battery, use emergency flashers only if you hear vehicles approaching.
• Don’t overexert yourself by shoveling too much snow or trying to push the vehicle. You might injure yourself or suffer a heart attack. In addition, sweating is the last thing you want to do. Wet clothing loses its insulating ability, making you vulnerable to hypothermia.
• Try to only run your engine for 10 minutes each hour. This will help you conserve fuel and recharge your battery.
• Before starting your vehicle, make sure the exhaust pipe is not buried or plugged with snow. If the exhaust pipe is blocked in any way, the carbon monoxide can back up into the vehicle and kill its occupants (yes, this has happened). It’s also a good idea to keep a window open an inch or so while the engine is running.
• If you absolutely must leave the vehicle, leave a note, visible through a window, with your name, phone number, destination, and which direction you are walking.
When Someone Else Is Liable for Your Winter Accident
As a driver, there’s only so much you can do to avoid being in an accident. You may drive sensibly and safely in adverse conditions, but that doesn’t mean that other drivers will. If you’re injured in a winter driving accident that was caused by the reckless or negligent driving of another person, that person can be held accountable for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.
Sometimes, hazardous road conditions that the state, county, or city should have taken care of end up causing your accident. Examples would be the government not plowing in a timely manner, not spreading enough salt and sand on roadways, or allowing traffic signs and signals to be obscured by snow. In these cases, the party charge with maintaining the road could be held liable for your accident.
If you’ve been in an accident that you feel wasn’t your fault, contact an experienced Wyoming car accident attorney. The legal team at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., cares about the rights of Wyoming residents who’ve been injured because of the negligent behavior of other people. To get the compensation you deserve, call our Gillette office at (307) 257-7800 for a free case strategy session.
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