Tired of navigating another slush fest, this one in the second half of April? Take heart Colorado drivers — the state is unrivaled when it comes to avoiding fatal road accidents because of bad weather conditions, according to a new study from AutoInsuranceQuote.
Poor weather conditions account for about 20 fatal crashes per 1 million drivers on average in the United States, the study found. In Colorado, the fatality rate because of weather-related road accidents is only four per one million, the lowest rate in the nation and one-fifth the national average.
The usual relationship is the heavier the precipitation — be it snow, ice or rain — the higher the rate of fatal road accidents that follow. The only states that come close to matching Colorado safety record have fair weather in their favor. They include Arizona, with five weather-related fatalities per 1 million drivers and California, with six fatalities per 1 million drivers. Utah and Nevada are also in the running, with six and eight fatalities per 1 million drivers, respectively.
So how do Colorado drivers, facing more severe weather conditions, including snowy roads from October to May, manage to do so well?
“Inexperienced drivers will often crash in the snow or icy rain if they aren’t used to driving in poor weather,” said Rachel Bodine, a co-author of the report. “The low number of fatal crashes could be because drivers who live in areas with bad weather are more accustomed to driving in poor conditions.”
She adds that road crews in snowy states like Colorado and New York are better equipped to stay ahead of storms, which greatly improves the odds for drivers. Road crews in places like Texas can get overwhelmed, something February’s cold snap made painfully evident. And it should also be noted that drivers tend to fare better in single-vehicle weather-related crashes when driving a big truck or SUV, both of which are highly popular in Colorado.
But more experience driving in crappy weather, top-notch road crews, and a larger share of vehicles with high clearances and all-wheel traction don’t offer a full explanation.
In Wyoming and Kansas, which get to share many of the wicked weather systems that hammer on Colorado, road fatality rates are much higher. In Kansas, weather-related road fatalities are 17 per million drivers, which ranked 23rd, and in Wyoming, they are 45 per 1 million, which ranks 49th, second-worst to only West Virginia.
One explanation for the difference could be that the high share of Colorado’s population lives in or near urban areas. Suffering a bad accident in a remote area greatly increases the risks of dying from injuries given the long response times required to provide medical help.
“If crashes from poor weather happen in a place where medical care can be provided quickly, the chance of survival is much better than waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive,” Bodine said.
Although Colorado drivers are some of the safest in the country when it comes to handling bad weather, they could up their game when it comes to handling the rain, which has a higher fatality rate than snow-related accidents.
“Many people assume that rain is less dangerous than snow to drive in, leading them to drive more recklessly and at a higher speed than they would with visible snow on the ground,” Bodine said. “However, rain is just as dangerous. Rain creates a slick surface on the road, leading to hydroplaning, and also limits a driver’s visibility and decreases their reaction time”
Something to keep in mind once spring decides to show up.
Source: Read Full Article