CINCINNATI, OH (February 12, 2020) – With the tri-state under a flash flood watch, AAA is urging motorists to be prepared and to remain cautious while behind the wheel.
An analysis of data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that almost half a million crashes and over 2,000 deaths occur during severe weather and hazardous road conditions annually. The analysis found that over 38% of crashes involving bad weather and/or hazardous road conditions happen during the winter.
“Rain, snow and sleet can reduce your visibility, making it difficult to safely maneuver or even bring the car to a stop if necessary,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “Everyone needs to be diligent when driving in these conditions, especially if the road is wet or covered in ice or snow.”
The AAA Foundation analyzed 2017 regional data of crashes occurring in adverse weather including what the roadway surface conditions were at the time of the crash. Researchers found that adverse weather and roadway surface conditions were involved in 29% of all crashes and 25% of all deaths that occurred during the winter— much higher than during any other season.
Regionally, nearly 42% of crashes and 33% of deaths during the winter occur in adverse weather or on hazardous roadway surface conditions in the Midwest.
As the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service forecasts the Ohio River to reach the flood stage this week, AAA is cautioning motorists to not drive through flooded roadways.
“If you don’t know how deep the water is, then don’t drive through it,” continues Moore. “The best plan is to park your car on the highest ground possible and take shelter. If a vehicle is driven through standing water, a driver risks livelihood as well as vehicle damage.”
AAA offers the following wet weather driving tips:
Stay Alert: Be on the lookout for flooded roadways throughout the area. The depth of standing water during a storm can be deceiving.
Turn Around, Don’t Drown: Should you be on the road and encounter standing water, your safest course of action is always to simply turn the car around and avoid it altogether. No matter how familiar you may be with the road, never drive through standing water—at any depth—as it could cause serious damage to your vehicle.
Buckle up: Make sure the driver and all passengers (including pets!) are properly restrained in a seat belt or car seat.
See and Be Seen: Make sure all headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning so other drivers will see you during downpours. Turn on your headlights whenever you drive in inclement weather. It’s the law.
Slow Down and Leave Room: Reduce the chance of hydroplaning by slowing down while driving. Also, allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing following distance of the vehicle in front of you.
Avoid Cruise Control: To prevent loss of traction, the driver may need to reduce the car’s speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged. Avoiding cruise control will allow the driver more options to choose from when responding to a potential loss of traction situation, thus maximizing safety.
Responding to a Skid: Do not panic if the vehicle begins to skid. Instead, remain calm and continue to look and steer in the direction you are traveling. In addition, avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.
Slow Down, Move Over: Slow down and move over or change lanes, if possible, to give safe clearance to those working roadside.
Don’t Drive Intexticated: AAA encourages all drivers to put any and all mobile devices away while behind the wheel of a car. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving or ask a passenger to help with navigation.
Distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injuries 1,000 each day according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, it is the third leading driver-related cause of crash fatalities behind speeding and driving under the influence.
The public is invited to take the Don’t Drive Intexticated pledge. Visit www.aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted to join this lifesaving effort.