Though this has been a relatively mild winter in much of the western United States, the weather can change at any moment and throw us for a loop. Snow in Florida this year should be evidence of that.

However, there’s one thing about winter weather that stay in common for all of us and that is snowy and icy roads, if you’re not prepared for them, can be deadly. And this seems to especially ring true for drivers in Western Washington, who, when it snows, seem to forget how to drive in snow all together.

Statistics show that during commutes in the Puget Sound, the majority of the vehicles are single occupant and a large portion of those occupants are males over the age of 28 and under the age of 65. This is significant, because according to researchers at Purdue University, when it snows, it is this demographic that has the most injury car accidents.

Purdue University Study

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know full and well that young men are perhaps the most dangerous drivers on the road anywhere in the country, however, it seems that is exclusive to dry roads when they feel safer to push their vehicle to limits. Now, a study of drivers in the snowy state of Indiana shows a markedly higher risk of serious personal injury and death for men 45-years and older driving on snow and ice, women driving on rain-slick highways, and younger men driving on dry roadways.

Findings are based on an analysis of 2007-2008 police report crash data of 23,431 Indiana drivers and were detailed in a paper published in the September issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention. The paper was written by Fred Mannering, Purdue University’s Charles Pankow Professor of Civil Engineering and associate director for research of Purdue’s Center for Road Safety, along with his doctoral student Abigail Morgan.

“I would say Indiana is pretty representative of the nation as a whole because it is average in terms of climate and socio-demographics, so these findings might be similar nationwide,” said Mannering.

Research showed some results that we may have been able to make an educated guess concerning men younger than 45. Results showed a 21% higher likelihood of severe injury while driving on dry roads than on wet roads, and a 72% higher likelihood of severe injury on a dry road than on snowy and icy roads. This was not true for older men and, surprisingly, women.

Males 45-years and older were found to be 5.5x more likely to be personally injured or killed when driving on snowy and icy roads than they are when driving on wet surfaces. Research also showed that older men driving pickup trucks were 81% more likely to be injured on snow and icy surfaces than those older men driving other vehicle types.

As we all know, women aren’t in any way exempt from getting into auto accidents on dry or slick roads. Women 45-years and older were more than 4x more likely to be seriously injured on wet road surfaces than when driving on dry road surfaces. Younger women younger (under 45 years of age) were found to be nearly 3x more likely to get into an accident on wet roads. Women in the older category also had a 44 percent higher chance of being severely injured on rain-slick interstate highways compared to other roads.

“This suggests that women drivers, on average, significantly underestimate the risk of a severe crash on wet roads and do not compensate for reduced friction on slick, high-speed roads,” said Mannering. “The best way to help prevent severe accidents is understanding the conditions under which they are most likely to occur.”

Having The Right Tires

Statistics explain a lot and many of us would like to think that we are exempt from some of the tendencies that the majority of people in our gender or age group engage in. However, over and over again we find that avoiding these statistics is virtually impossible because we’re all more alike than we’d like to admit. That’s why we recommend you take these statistics and not only adjust behaviors, but also plan for it by buying proper tires.

When considering the type of tread think about the weather you deal with most of the year. The thicker the tread the lower your gas mileage. An all season tire will displace water in the middle of the tire and deposit it out the sides of the tire for better traction. If you live in a place with little rain and higher heat then a performance tire may suit your needs.

All-season Tires – Typically these come in sizes of 14 to 16 inches and have a warranty of about 40,000 to 100,000 miles depending on price and brand. That means they will fit and accommodate nearly everything from small cars to light-duty SUVs and pickups. Do you have an older vehicle and want year-round traction, long tread wear, and a failry comfortable ride? This is the tire for you, but keep in mind that they lack the precise handling and grip of performance tires.
Performance All-season Tires – These are made for cars with larger rims and wheel wells as they come in sizes 15 to 17 inches. They have a higher speed rating than standard all-season tires and they generally provide better handling and braking. In general they have a lower profile (shorter sidewall height) and a wider tread print. They are a popular choice for many newer cars, but have a lower warranty of 40 to 60 thousand miles.

Northwest Car Accident Attorneys

Phillips Law Firm is a full service law firm with a substantial track record of success Personal Injury Litigation. We take the time to fully assess the injured party’s case in order to assure that the victim receives the compensation they deserve. Call our Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.