Slick Road Conditions in Connecticut
The State of Connecticut has a population of more than 3.5 million people. It often seems like every inhabitant of Connecticut is on the road at once. Although crowded roads often translate to a high accident rate, most car accidents in this state and elsewhere are due to poor weather conditions, such as rain or snow, sleet, wet leaves, or sand and gravel.
Mid-day is generally the safest time to drive. According to the Institute for Highway Safety, about 33 percent of accidents occur during the 5 to 9 p.m. rush hour when most people are in a hurry to get home or go somewhere for recreation. About 53 percent of accidents take place between 9 to 12 p.m. and are often alcohol-related.
No matter the time of day or night, what road conditions are most hazardous? Hard, packed snow is fairly manageable on the road if the driver maintains a reasonable speed, perhaps no more than 35 mph. Ice and sleet conditions are usually at the top of the danger list. Icy, slick roads are especially dangerous because they are often invisible. The driver may not reduce speed in time to prevent a crash. In addition, ice can cause the tires to separate from the surface momentarily, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. During the summer and spring months, roads are the slickest following the first significant rainfall after several days or weeks of warm and dry weather. The worst of all treacherous road obstacles is black ice, on which no speed is safe. An encounter with black ice can cause the driver to completely lose control of the vehicle for a few moments. Typically, a driver that encounters black ice or slick pavement will aggressively apply the breaks and over-correct the steering wheel in an effort to maintain control, causing the vehicle to veer into a skid.
It is important to know what to do if a skid occurs. First, ease your foot off the accelerator and lightly tap the brakes. Begin turning in the direction of the skid as you remove your foot from the brakes, then gently turn the other way, once again in the direction of the skid. The maneuver can sound frightening, but it works.
It is also important to prepare your vehicle for dangerous road conditions, especially considering Connecticut's harsh and drastic climate. For more information concerning how to prepare your vehicle for the winter months, check out our previous blog post. The best advice when you are behind the wheel under any road conditions in Connecticut or elsewhere is: Keep your eye on the road and avoid distractions.