Alaskans should be ready for upcoming fall and winter conditions

It may seem too early to consider the dangers of fall and winter driving. However, as many Alaskans know, it is never too early in the season to be wary of adverse weather conditions involving cold weather. Rain, fog, ice and snow may appear only a few weeks after school starts back up.

Weather-related conditions are a significant hazard affecting drivers across the country, states the United States Federal Highway Administration. About 6,250 people are killed and more than 480,000 are injured every year in car crashes related to adverse weather. This accounts for about 23 percent of all collisions nationwide.

March snowstorm caused numerous accidents, injuries

Anchorage residents may remember a late-season storm that occurred last March. According to the Alaska Dispatch News, the spring snowstorm piled up on roadways, causing 50 separate collisions. Out of these, nine accidents included injuries and one accident involved around 20 vehicles. This incident drove home the point that sudden, severe weather can occur at unexpected times in Alaska.

Fall driving hazards

The approach of fall brings numerous road hazards that may catch drivers off guard after months of good weather, states Esurance. These may include the following:

  • Frost in the early mornings creating slippery roads
  • Sun glare, especially in the mornings and late afternoons
  • Slick roads due to fallen leaves, mud and rain
  • Fog and rain reducing visibility

In addition to being aware of the changing weather, drivers should also watch out for children crossing the street for school.

Winter warnings

Ice and snow are the two major dangers of winter driving. Ice, particularly black ice, can be deadly for Alaska drivers. Black ice may be difficult for drivers to detect. It often looks like wet pavement and may appear matte, instead of shiny. Drivers often do not notice the danger of this thin ice layer until it is too late. To deal with black ice, drivers should take their foot off the gas and calmly adjust their steering until they are back in control.

In all forms of adverse weather, it is advisable to reduce speed and give other vehicles plenty of space. Drivers should not use their cruise control in snowy or icy conditions, or their bright headlights when it is foggy, which may increase glare. When visibility is poor, it may be best to pull over until the condition has lessened, or to stay home whenever possible.

Careful drivers may reduce their chances of getting into an accident, but cannot always prevent other drivers from causing a crash. Those who were injured in a crash caused by a negligent or careless driver may wish to contact an experienced Anchorage personal injury attorney.