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What to look out for on the Pennsylvania winter roads besides ice

As one of the more northern states of the nation, Pennsylvania experiences harsh weather during the winter months. This makes everyday tasks more dangerous than they typically are. Even simple chores like walking to the mailbox can result in a resident getting injured. 

Many would argue that the hardest task to perform during the winter is driving. Whether it's a trip to the grocery store or the daily drive to work or school, the roads become far more hazardous and unpredictable than they ever are during the year. While it is important to check the weather daily to see if you will be dealing with any snow or ice while driving, you should keep in mind that not all road obstacles have to do with weather. You should be aware of the following obstacles that you have a likelier chance of seeing during these freezing months:

Deer crashes

With the increasingly colder temperatures, many drivers assume that deer will not be a problem around this time. Even though the peak of deer mating season in in November, the freezing winds do not change the fact that Pennsylvania has one of the highest deer crash rates in the nation and that you still have a fair chance of encountering one during your drive.

Be cautious around rural roads and neighborhoods at night time and try to avoid swerving to dodge it. While a deer crash could result in injury, swerving your car could result in an even worse accident as you could veer into a ditch or hit another car. Maintain a safe distance from the driver in front of you so you have more time to react in case they hit any wildlife on the way home.

Drunk drivers

According to the 2017 crash report from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there has been a recent increase in DUI crashes. The winter months in particular had the highest amount of crashes and contain the holidays with the highest DUI crash and arrest rates such as New Year's and Thanksgiving. Even without including the holiday months, winter still had higher crash rates in January and February than most of the year. Given how most DUI crashes occur in the dark, the lack of sunlight and unstable roads in the winter means there may be more accidents caused by intoxicated drivers.

During your trip home, keep an eye out for any suspicious road behavior. If a driver has difficulty keeping their car straight or has an inconsistent speed rate, consider exiting to a different path or moving to a faraway lane to avoid potential injuries. Be considerate to when you want to go on the road as well, as going while there is day light out may decrease your chances of encountering a driver under the influence.

Winter is arguably the most dangerous season for driving due to the unpredictable weather and the effects it will have on your car and your driving abilities. There are many inexperienced or reckless motorists who will be experiencing their first winter driving during this time, so you should prepare yourself with how to deal with the various street hazards you may face. Unfortunately, even experienced drivers can fall victim to someone else’s mistakes. If you suffered any serious personal injuries during one of your commutes in the coldest months of the year, an attorney can provide assistance when you file a claim against the guilty driver.

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