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Just a few inches of snow can make roads treacherous


Just a few inches of snow can make roads treacherous

South Carolina motorists rarely encounter significant accumulations of ice or snow, but they can turn the winter months into an ordeal for drivers in areas of the country with less forgiving climates. While it is well known that blizzard conditions can make driving very dangerous, accident data suggests that a few inches of snow or small amounts of ice could be even more of a hazard for road users.

Modern vehicles and their sophisticated driver conveniences are sometimes blamed for this as motorists cossetted in luxury and refinement may not fully appreciate that road conditions have deteriorated to dangerous levels. This can lead drivers to continue traveling at speeds that are no longer prudent and follow other vehicles too closely for prevailing weather conditions. Experts say that drivers frequently only appreciate the error of their behavior when they are involved in an accident or near miss.

NHTSA data from the period of 2004 to 2013 revealed that about a quarter of all car accidents during that period were weather-related, and winter weather accounted for more than 40 percent of those crashes. An example of how even weather that would be considered mild by northeastern winter standards can be extremely dangerous occurred in early 2016 near the town of Marshfield in Massachusetts. The National Weather Service warned drivers that road conditions would be impacted by accumulations of snow of between 1 and 3 inches, but police in the area were still called to the scene of 17 accidents in a period of less than two hours.

While South Carolina motorists are comparatively unlikely to be in a car accident caused by snow or ice, they may be harmed when other reckless drivers fail to adequately compensate for heavy rain or dense fog. The injuries they suffer often leave them with crippling medical bills and unable to work for lengthy periods, and personal injury attorneys may initiate litigation on their behalf that seeks to hold the negligent individuals involved financially responsible.