Record 2016 Roadway Deaths Spark Concern For Upcoming Winter Driving

Motor vehicle crashes were one of the leading causes of death in the United States last year, and the same will be true this year as well.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which collected data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, there were 37,461 roadway fatalities in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from the previous year.

Drivers, no matter who is driving or where they are, have to be extremely careful at all times when they’re behind the wheel.

This is especially concerning as winter is just around the corner. When driving conditions are poor, roadway injuries and fatalities shoot up past their already high levels. In Minnesota, drivers are already seeing these dangerous winter road conditions as a truck driver was recently killed due to icy road conditions.

According to TwinCities Pioneer Press, drivers were killed as a result of wintery conditions as early as October.

Snow had accumulated just a little bit in Minneapolis, but it was enough to cause severe issues out on the roads and take the life of a 44-year-old man from Duluth. The driver, whose name has not been released, lost control of his tractor-trailer just before a bridge along the snowy Interstate 35 at 4:30a.m. The truck went over the bridge into the St. Louis River and the driver’s body was eventually found at 9:00 a.m.

Sadly, another young driver lost his life that same morning after losing control of his Kia while trying to pass another vehicle. Alvaro Ambriz Rodriguez, 26, lost control of his car as he slid into oncoming traffic and was fatally struck by a semi-truck. The truck driver was uninjured.

Truck drivers across the country have to make sure they are especially alert and staying as careful as possible on the roadways because even the slightest mishap can result in taking the life of another driver. Of the 3,3,82 people who were killed in large truck accidents in 2015, only 16% of those fatalities were the drivers of those trucks. Nearly 70% of those deaths were drivers in other vehicles involved in the accidents, and 15% were pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.

Both large truck drivers and average drivers need to be aware of how to effectively drive during snowy and icy road conditions. Here are the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) recommendations for operating a vehicle in dangerous winter roadway conditions:

  • Avoid driving at all while fatigued (especially for truck drivers who are on long-distance winter trips).
  • Pay attention to weather reports prior to any trip, especially when driving in isolated areas. Delay your trip whenever severely bad weather is expected.
  • Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it properly inspected and taking excellent care of it.

Also, drivers and passengers alike should know where the closest urgent care facilities are in the event of being involved in or witnessing a roadway accident. Approximately 85% of urgent care centers are open all seven days during the week. Call emergency crews if you have been involved in a serious accident or have witnessed one.

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