Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving



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On average, there are over 5,891,000 vehicle crashes each year. Approximately 21% of these crashes - nearly 1,235,000 - are weather-related.

Weather-related crashes are defined as those crashes that occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe crosswinds, or blowing snow/sand/debris) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet/ snowy/slushy/icy pavement).

On average, nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 418,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year. (Source: Ten-year averages from 2007 to 2016 analyzed by Booz Allen Hamilton, based on NHTSA data).

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Dangers Weather

🛈 Statistics on weather related accidents

Weather can have a significant impact on road safety, and the statistics on weather-related accidents are sobering. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 21% of all car accidents in the United States are weather-related, resulting in over 5,000 fatalities and over 418,000 injuries annually. Here are some specific statistics on weather-related accidents:

  • Rain: Rain is the most common weather-related cause of accidents, accounting for approximately 73% of all weather-related accidents. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), rain is a factor in approximately 1.2 million crashes each year, resulting in approximately 5,700 fatalities and 570,000 injuries.

  • Snow and ice: Snow and ice are also significant factors in weather-related accidents. According to the FHWA, snow and ice contribute to approximately 188,000 crashes each year, resulting in approximately 1,800 fatalities and 150,000 injuries.

  • Fog: Fog can significantly reduce visibility and increase the risk of accidents. According to the FHWA, fog is a factor in approximately 28,000 crashes each year, resulting in approximately 550 fatalities and 11,000 injuries.

  • Wind: Strong winds can also impact road safety, particularly for high-profile vehicles such as trucks and buses. According to the NHTSA, wind is a factor in approximately 16,000 crashes each year, resulting in approximately 50 fatalities and 6,000 injuries.

When driving in bad weather drivers should adjust their driving habits based on weather conditions, and to exercise caution and patience while on the road. This may include reducing speed, increasing following distance, and avoiding sudden movements such as hard braking or sharp turns.

🛈 How weather affects traffic

Weather conditions can have a significant impact on traffic patterns and safety. Here are some ways in which different weather conditions can affect traffic:

  • Rain: Rainy conditions can reduce visibility and make roads slippery, leading to decreased traction and longer stopping distances. This can increase the likelihood of accidents and result in slower traffic speeds. Heavy rainfall may also lead to poor drainage and flooding, causing road closures and diversions.

  • Snow and Ice: Snow and ice can create hazardous driving conditions. Roads become slippery, reducing tire grip and making it challenging to control vehicles. Snow accumulation can lead to reduced lane capacity, narrower driving lanes, and limited visibility. These conditions often result in slower traffic flow, increased congestion, and an increased risk of accidents.

  • Fog: Dense fog can severely limit visibility, making it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles, road signs, and hazards in their path. Fog can lead to reduced speeds and increase the chances of rear-end collisions or other accidents. It may also result in traffic congestion as drivers navigate cautiously through reduced visibility areas.

  • Wind: Strong winds can affect high-profile vehicles such as trucks, buses, and trailers, causing instability and making it challenging to maintain control. Wind gusts can push vehicles off course, posing a risk to both the driver and other road users. In extreme cases, severe windstorms may result in road closures or restrictions.

  • Extreme Heat: High temperatures can cause issues with road surfaces, such as pavement expansion, leading to cracks and potholes. This can result in lane closures, slower speeds, and increased traffic congestion as maintenance crews address road damage. Extreme heat can also put a strain on vehicle systems, leading to breakdowns and traffic disruptions.

  • Severe Weather Events: Severe weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe thunderstorms can cause widespread disruption to traffic. Road closures, detours, and evacuations may be necessary for public safety. These events can lead to significant congestion, long travel delays, and increased risks on the roads.

It's important for drivers to adjust their driving behavior and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Slowing down, maintaining a safe following distance, using headlights or fog lights when necessary, and staying informed about weather forecasts and road conditions can help mitigate the impact of weather on traffic safety. Authorities may also issue advisories or implement traffic management measures during severe weather events to ensure the safety of drivers and maintain traffic flow.

Is a car safe during lightning?

Generally, being inside a car can provide some degree of safety during a lightning storm, but it is important to take certain precautions. Cars can act as a Faraday cage, which means that the metal body of the car can conduct the electrical charge from a lightning strike around the occupants and safely into the ground.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stay inside the car: Avoid getting out of the car during a lightning storm. Being inside the vehicle provides a layer of protection.

  • Avoid contact with metal: Do not touch any metal parts inside the car, such as the doors, steering wheel, or radio, as these may conduct electricity if the car is struck by lightning.

  • Roll up the windows: Keep the windows completely closed to prevent lightning from entering the vehicle. Also, avoid using any electronic devices or touching metal objects that may be in contact with the windows.

  • Avoid contact with external objects: Stay away from any external parts of the car that may be conductive, such as the antenna or metal racks on the roof.

  • Don't park under tall objects: If possible, avoid parking the car under or near tall objects, such as trees or power lines, as these can increase the risk of a lightning strike.

While being inside a car can provide some protection, it's important to note that there is still a small risk of electrical current entering the vehicle in the event of a direct lightning strike or a strike to a nearby object. It is always advisable to exercise caution and use common sense during severe weather conditions.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving