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Project: Blizzard – Snow totals vs. Accident rates

In the fall of 2017, the NWS (National Weather Service) and WIDOT (Wisconsin Department of Transportation) conducted research to determine snow totals vs. accident rates. The findings actually may shock you. The drastic difference between higher snowfall accidents versus lesser snowfall accidents is significantly greater. Snowfall rates of a less than 2"m have nearly a 80 Percent higher accident rate than events that report 2" or greater.

Why is this? Well, it all comes down to driver's perception. Drivers will typically leave their guard down for lighter snowfall events. This tends to decrease the use of safe driving practices. This is combined with slippery roads that might look safe and severely reduce visibility conditions. All these factors help contribute to higher accidents rates.

Crashes can also occur mostly when drivers are unaware of traveling conditions. Sometimes untreated roadways become a hazard due to ice and snow. Slippery areas will go unnoticed or more dangerous than we least expected.

13 News reached out to the Illinois State Police and Trooper Elizabeth Clausing offered this advice.

"Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary, and if you must travel ensure someone else knows your travel route.  Make sure you are always prepared in case the weather takes a turn for the worst unexpectedly.  Dress appropriately for the weather. Ensure you keep plenty of fuel in your tank in case your vehicle becomes stranded. Carry a cell phone and a charger.  Have an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, a flashlight, an ice scraper, blankets, gloves, food items, water, and a first-aid kit.  Clean ice and snow from your windshield AND lights.  Always wear your seatbelt and drive in a safe manner for the weather conditions.  Do not crowd the snow plow."

- Trooper Elizabeth Clausing

In conclusion, the best thing to do in all winter weather events is to use extreme caution on the roadways. This will make sure you arrive at your next destination safely.

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Tommie Owens

Tommie is the Weekend Meteorologist for 13 WREX. He graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Meteorology in 2017. Tommie joined the team in November 2018.

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