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Massachusetts Winter Weather Creates Dangerous Driving Conditions

By DiBella Law Offices on December 22, 2016

Roughly 70% of U.S. roads are located in regions which receive at least an average of 5 inches of snowfall annually. Similarly, approximately 70% of the U.S. population also resides in these snowy regions. Snow and ice accumulation on the roadways creates potentially dangerous driving conditions by reducing friction, vehicle handling, and braking. Approximately 25% of weather-related auto crashes occur atop surfaces containing snow or ice. Winter-related activity accounts for about 20% of the funds exhausted by state transportation budgets—a staggering 2.3 billion dollars.

Massachusetts Winter Driving

Property Causality 360, a national insurance-themed periodical recently ranked the U.S. cities with the most dangerous winter road conditions for drivers. Three cities in MA were in the top four.

  • #1: Worcester, MA – Averages 48.1” of precipitation; collision rate is 134% above the U.S. average.
  • #2: Boston, MA – Averages 43.8”of precipitation; collision rate is 129% above U.S average.
  • #4: Springfield, MA – Averages 46.7” of precipitation; collision rate is 85% above U.S. average.

Auto Insurance rates in The Bay State are still comparatively low when you factor in the treacherous wintry weather. This is an indication the party responsible for managing the road surface conditions must be doing an effective job. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Highway Division (MassDOT) is the agency responsible for safety on over 15,000 lane miles and nearly 5,000 bridges within the state each year.
Wintry Road Strategy in MA

MassDOT employs various forms of road treatment each winter. The approach toward keeping ice and snow off of the roads has three primary facets—plowing, de-icing, and anti-icing.

  • Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride): Can break and prevent the bond between ice and the surface by lowering the freezing point.
    Advantages: Inexpensive, effective, plentiful. Disadvantages: Corrosive, ineffective at very low temperatures.
  • Sand: Used as an abrasive to improve traction.
    Advantages: Inexpensive, works at low temperatures, plentiful. Disadvantages: Ineffective, can clog drainage systems.
  • Pre-Mix (Sodium Chloride/Calcium Chloride blend):
    Advantages: Works at low temperatures, low environmental impact. Disadvantages: Expensive, needs dry storage.
  • Liquid Calcium Chloride:
    Advantages: Great for pre-treatment, works at low temperatures. Disadvantages: Expensive, requires timely usage.
  • Liquid Magnesium Chloride:
    Advantages: Works at low temperatures, low environmental impact. Disadvantages: Expensive, requires timely usage.

Safety Reminders

Massachusetts does allow for studded snow tires from November through April. Tires with insufficient tread depth remaining can be a tremendous liability in the winter. When visibility is poor, it is recommended to turn on the vehicle’s headlights. If you vehicle begins to skid, turn your steering in the same direction as the rear end of the vehicle to straighten out the car.

Have you been injured to to ones reckless driving in dangerous weather condition? The experienced Burlington car accident attorneys at The DiBella Law Offices, P.C. is here to assist Massachusetts accident victims obtain reparations for their injuries and damaged property. Contact the office today at (978) 327-5140 for a consultation.

Posted in: Car Accidents