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Winter driving: A hazard for all on the roads

When winter arrives, it makes the roads dangerous. Between freezing rains and blizzards with high winds, drivers have their work cut out for them. If they're not paying attention or slowing down for the conditions, they could end up putting their lives or the lives of others at risk.

Between 2011 and 2015, there were approximately 800 people on average who were killed in car crashes because of sleet, ice, freezing rain or snow, according to the Auto Insurance Center (AIC) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As far as states go, Ohio is the deadliest in the data, being home to 420 deaths in just five years.

Other states that are particularly hazardous during the winter include New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Each one is known for heavy snowfalls, ice and sleet. One of the most serious hazards people see is a snow squall. This is what happens when you run into whiteout conditions. The sudden snow makes visibility nearly null, so you can't even see vehicles braking in front of you.

How can you stay safer in winter conditions? Drive as slowly as possible. You should always consider the conditions around you when you drive. If it's raining, slow down to avoid skidding. If there's a possibility of ice, don't brake suddenly. If there is a blizzard or whiteout outside, slow down and come to a stop as soon as possible, so you avoid crashing due to poor visibility.

Avoiding a crash isn't always possible, but if people take their time in the changing weather conditions, lives can be saved.

Source: USA Today, "Winter car accidents are a deadly weather hazard," Doyle Rice, accessed Dec. 01, 2017

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