Several states broke winter records for their freezing temperatures and excessive snowfall in the first two months of 2019 alone. Since then, Pennsylvanians have been feverishly checking every day to see which roads are closed due to undrivable pavement or a major accident that these dangerous conditions will eventually cause.
If this year’s winter is throwing off even the most experienced local drivers, imagine what it means for the newer ones. Even for parents that wait to have their kids start driving in the spring will run into potential snowstorms and start seeing how winter affected the roads. Earlier this year, several teens have lost their cars and their lives to these dangerous conditions. These accidents should serve as a reminder to parents of these adolescent motorists to be cautious before sending their children out.
On January 20, an 18-year-old was traveling northbound in the Ephrata township. As the sun was setting, he hit a rough ice patch and lost control of his vehicle. He eventually overturned his car onto a bed of rocks in the Coover Run Creek and died from his injuries.
Less than a month later on February 10, a 17-year-old girl was driving an SUV in East Lackawannock Township on Interstate 80. The snowy highway led to the vehicle sliding out of control before crashing into two semis. It was a particularly dangerous time as nearly half-a-dozen accidents occurred on the same road within hours that day. The driver and one of her passengers sustained serious injuries while two younger passengers died in the process.
These two accidents noticeably took place in rural areas and were in the early evening. Whether it’s a highway or neighborhood street, rural areas are often poorly maintained and become especially dangerous after they are covered with ice and snow. Teens may also not still be used to the lack of sunlight and visibility when driving on winter roads in the early evening.
What can parents do?
Pennsylvanian parents need to use their best judgement before their kids enter the driver’s seat. While teens need to eventually drive during the winter and early spring to get slowly accustomed to the hazards, parents must recognize when the slippery conditions may be too much for their kids to handle. If you have a teen driver, you need to pay close attention to the weather and traffic reports every night and morning to see if it is too dangerous for your kid to take the car out. When there’s less snow, rain, or ice, take a slow and cautious ride with them to give them some firsthand experience with this season’s driving obstacles.
Unfortunately, not all their parents use their best judgement or have the best influence on their child’s driving habits. If you or your teen are hit by an inexperienced motorist during the winter, you should see what legal options are available to you with an auto accident attorney.