Weather Related Crashes Result in Fatalities on Missouri Roads
Posted on November 13th, 2018 by Zane Cagle
Fatal Crashes Should Raise Awareness for All of Us
Of all of the troops at the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop A covering counties Johnson, Bates, Henry, Pettis, Jackson, Lafayette, Cass, and Saline worked a number of crashes including two fatal crashes and multiple injuries.
Fatal Crash In Henry County
A 62 year-old Windsor, Missouri woman died after her 2016 Toyota was hit nearly head-on by a car (a 2012 Toyota) that slid on Missouri 52 in Henry County. A 31 year-old Clinton woman was driving the second car that crossed into the road and struck the Windsor woman’s car. She was seriously injured as well as her five-year old passenger. All three people were transported to Golden Valley Hospital in Clinton, Missouri where the Windsor woman died. The Clinton woman sustained serious injuries and the five-year old suffered moderate injuries. The crash occurred around 8:30 a.m. on a snow covered roadway.
A deadly scenario such as yesterday’s fatal head-on crash certainly goes through each driver’s mind as the worst case scenario. I did not know about this specific crash as I drove from Kansas City to St. Louis yesterday afternoon, but I did fear that there would be such crashes. Almost every year, the first snow results in crashes. As I drove yesterday, it became apparent that some people were driving as if there was no bad weather and failed to slow down and account for the weather. Every single one of us has felt that dread and have been actually afraid while we were behind the wheel when the roads are bad. Every time you have to drive on icy weather, these deadly scenarios should make you question whether or not you have to drive at all in the ice and snow. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have a choice on whether or not we drive due to scheduling issues. Sometimes things in your schedule cannot be rescheduled for something less than a snow apocalypse without terrible consequences. Other times, we can delay our trip a few hours until the roads are better treated.
Yes, I know that the fatal crashes that occurred yesterday are not about “me, me or me”. These serious crashes are about the victims and their families. However, if we fail to personalize these tragedies a bit, then we’ve failed to educate ourselves and raise safety awareness for our families and friends. We can deeply appreciate other families’ loss while thinking about the safety of everyone on the roads. Most every time I represent a family member of someone fatally injured in a crash, one of the greatest hopes of surviving family members is to prevent a similar crash happening to someone else. Family members of those killed in car collisions are generally the biggest advocates of safety because they have experienced total loss. Their desire to save other people’s lives is truly selfless.
That being said, there are some tips and recommendations for driving in snow/icy weather.
Tips for Winter Weather Driving
- Have your tires inspected. Be certain your tires are in good condition. If you use snow tires, you may want to consider a timeline of having them put on your vehicle
- Keep plenty of gas in your vehicle. If you are driving in inclement weather, you don’t want to run out of gas on the side of the road. You have to expect to be on the roadways longer and you don’t want to have to stress about possibly running out of gas and creating congestion on the highway with your car. Cars left on the side of the roadway during inclement weather are great candidates for being hit
- Slow down. Plan ahead and know that it will take extra time to reach your destination.
- Stay focused. When you are in the car longer and driving slower, some are tempted to text friends or family. Don’t text and drive. Inattentive drivers cause crashes when there is no inclement weather, so driving distracted is even more danger in inclement weather.
- Know what you will do if you are in a fender bender. Know the steps of what you should do if you are in a motor vehicle crash. Five Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
Local authorities and the Missouri State Highway Patrol unofficially listed well over 100 minor and serious motor vehicle crashes across the state, many due to weather conditions. While many parts of the state just got a light dusting of snow, the Kansas City side of the state received up to several inches and ice. Also, it was the real first bad weather of the winter season. Without discussing any crash in specific, generally there are some mistakes that many drivers make at the beginning of inclement weather.
The number one error that many drivers make is driving too fast for conditions. Sometimes we call it “speeding”. When the speed limit on a roadway if 55 mph or 75 mph but the road is snow covered, you cannot safely travel the speed limit. In fact, the more you reduce your speed, the more likely you will be able to maintain control of your vehicle. Many cars have front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and honestly, if you slow your speed, it will allow your vehicle to handle better on snow or ice covered roads. Granted, vehicles react very different to ice verses snow. Adding speed to either ice or snow covered roads is not a great idea. If you must “get a run” at a hill with snow because you have rear-wheel drive only, then you are possibly creating dangerous conditions for others. When most of the vehicles travel at a much slower speed, more people successfully arrive alive.
If You Are Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident, You Should Absolutely Take Advantage of Free Consultations
You should never talk to insurance adjusters without doing a free consultation with an attorney, at the very minimum. There are several reasons why you should consult an attorney before talking with an insurance company.
- Insurance companies’ number one concern is they dollar amount in spite what their commercials say
- You do not want to “overshare” in an attempt to be sell the adjuster on how hurt you are–talking about your injuries with the adjuster is a mistake. Days and even in the first few weeks, you don’t know the extent of your injuries or how you will heal, so why discuss it with the insurance adjuster. They do not have medical training.
- Stick to the facts. If you are asked to give a statement, just give the facts. Leave out any indication of your “feelings”. Again, while your attorney will care about your feelings, insurance adjusters really do not. After you are hurt, you are anxious to explain what happened to you, but the insurance adjuster is not the person you want to discuss your physical health. You talk with your doctors, family and your attorney.
- Sticking with the facts is sticking with the truth. You do not have to give a statement until you talk with your attorney. Depending on the nature of your injuries, you do not want to be giving any statements while you are under the influence of pain medications that may impact your memory.
Again, each crash is different. Each fact pattern is different and before you wade into the insurance claim process, you should consult an attorney. Insurance companies have well-designed systems in place for claims that may or may not work to your benefit. Again, truthfulness is critical, but oversharing information is not wise.