Severe Weather Increases Driving Risk Throughout Georgia and the Southeast
The peak of hurricane season reminds us that wind and rain are potent forces that demand our respect. However, adverse weather conditions that affect Georgia's roads do not only happen during a hurricane. Even a quick-moving summer thunderstorm, persistent rain, or even a heavy shower can create potentially hazardous travel conditions. Drivers must pay attention to the declining road conditions and adjust their speed accordingly.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA), a subsidiary agency to the United States Department of Transportation, conducted a decade-long study regarding the effect of weather on driving safety. The study included the ten-year span from 2005 to and including 2014. The agency's analysis delved into issues regarding various atmospheric conditions like air temperature, precipitation, fog, wind, and water level.
The agency found that some atmospheric conditions like air temperature and heat of the road surface do not have an adverse effect on safe driving. However, excessive surface heat can lead to roadway damage, which may contribute to adverse driving conditions.
The other factors do play a significant role in the safe operation of a motor vehicle. The FHA found that 73% of all weather-related crashes happened on wet pavement, and 46% of all crashes happened during active rainfall. On the other hand, only 14% of all weather-related accidents occurred in snowy or slushy conditions. Those figures do not necessarily mean that driving in the snow is safer than driving in the rain. Many areas in the U.S. do not experience snowfall annually. That smaller sample size might contribute to the apparent disparity.
The statistics generated by the FHA demonstrate the dangers of driving in adverse weather conditions. The researchers concluded that over 1.25 million accidents, approximately 450,000 injuries, and nearly 6000 deaths happen during adverse weather events each year. These statistics conclusively prove that drivers must respect the power of adverse weather and how it affects safe driving.
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