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How Weather Impacts Road Conditions

How Weather Impacts Road Conditions

Every year, there are over 1,259,000 car accidents that are a result of weather-related complications on the road. This figure represents roughly 22% of all vehicle crashes year round. As many as there are various forms and combinations of weather, there are consequently even more added risks and precautions to take on the road when these weather conditions arise. Diminished driver capabilities and vehicle performance, roadway infrastructure, traction, traffic flow and productivity: there are a multitude of combinations that affect the roads as a direct result of weather patterns. Whether it be heightened risk of accidents, traffic time or cost, these effects of weather on the roads have effects of their own.

Roadway Safety, Traffic Flow and Operational Impacts

The overwhelming majority of most weather-related crashes and complications happen as a result of some form of precipitation. Wet pavement alone is responsible for over 73% of weather-related vehicle accidents. Forty-six percent of these occur during rainfall, 17% during snow or sleet, 13% on icy pavement, 14% on snowy or slushy pavement and three percent when foggy. Roadway impacts of precipitation are visibility distance, pavement friction and lane obstruction or submersion due to flooding. Traffic flow pattern effects resulting from precipitation are diminished traffic speed, travel time delay, higher risk of accident and roadway capacity. Operational impacts are most heavily affected by precipitation, such as vehicle performance, driver capabilities/behavior, traffic signal timing, speed limit control, evacuation possibilities and coordination.

Other factors related to weather, such as wind speed or pavement temperature and condition, are also other major players in control of roadway impacts, traffic flow and vehicle operational ability. Wind speed, depending on the surroundings, can blow around snow, dust or debris, and decrease visibility or cause lane obstructions. This can alter traffic patterns and increase the risk of a car accident. The pavement temperature and condition are determinant of infrastructure damage and friction and affect speed limit control, vehicle performance and driver capabilities and behavior.

Mobility Impacts

Lane obstructions due to flooding, snow accumulation or wind-blown debris can cause traffic backups as well as road closures and insufficient traffic signal timing plans. Speed reductions can range from 10-25% on wet pavement and from 30-40% in snow or icy conditions. The stop-and-go traffic that often results from weather-induced traffic patterns raise the likelihood for a fender-bender or delays can increase by five to 50%, depending upon the severity of the weather.

Productivity Impacts

Each year, winter road maintenance accounts for roughly 20% of state DOT maintenance budgets. Every year, $2.3 billion is spent on snow and ice control operations. Trucking companies and CVOs report losing an estimated 32.6 billion hours on the road due to weather in the 20 cities with the greatest volume of truck traffic. The estimated cost of weather-related delays on trucking company revenue ranges from $2.2 to 3.5 billion annually.

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates Represent Victims of Car Accident Injuries

Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates are dedicated to securing compensation for those who have been injured in a car accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, call us at 215-567-6600 or contact us online today for a free consultation with one of our experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers. We have convenient office locations in Voorhees, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and serve clients throughout the region.