Warren Auto Body Shop Discusses the Danger of Icy Bridges
When it comes to extreme weather, what do you think poses the biggest safety threat to you and your family? Is it tornadoes? Hurricanes? Flash flooding?
You may be surprised to learn that icy bridges are a highly underrated weather hazard. And winter precipitation actually commands the same respect, if not more, as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in Michigan.
Recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has indicated that 5.8 million vehicle crashes occur each year based on statistics from 2007 to 2016. About 21 percent of those are involved hazardous weather. And weather-related car accidents actually cause more deaths in the U.S. than tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding.
Although any icy road can be life threatening, bridges and overpasses are one of the most dangerous types of road icing.
Why are Bridges More Dangerous than Other Surfaces?
Bridges and overpasses will always cool at a more rapid pace. Bridges hang above the ground and are exposed to the cold air from all sides. Main roads will be more insulated as only the top surface is exposed. So even though the main surface may drop in temperature, the heat underneath the road keeps it warmer and can help prevent icing.
It does not take much precipitation to create icy conditions. Perhaps one major danger of icy bridges, and any icy road for that matter, is that it only takes a light glazing of ice to create life threatening conditions. Drivers may feel confident as there doesn’t appear to be any major weather threat. They continue to drive at normal to high speeds, only to find themselves sliding on black or invisible ice.
Icy bridges often take drivers by surprise. Since bridges will be the first to ice over, drivers may not notice any danger on surface streets, even if bridges and overpasses are starting to freeze. The problem with this situation is when drivers do not adjust their driving when crossing a bridge – they assume that the bridge conditions are the same as the other roadways. So pay attention to the signs that read, “Watch for Ice on Bridge”. They are there for a reason.
How to Drive on an Icy Bridge
Loss off control on ice can happen in 2 stages. There is the initial slide on the ice after leaving the dry pavement. Then there is the sudden grip of the pavement as the vehicle moves off of the ice.
If you do encounter an icy bridge, don’t panic. Don’t break, accelerate or steer, as any of these motions can cause your vehicle to spin out and lose control. Don’t attempt to slow down while you are on the bridge. Instead just coast all the way to the end of the bridge if possible.
What to do if You’re in an Accident
Unfortunately, even the most cautious and prepared driver can find themselves in an auto accident on an icy bridge or overpass. If a wreck does occur, it is important to know how to respond quickly and correctly.
Most importantly, look out for additional out of control vehicles. Chances are, if you slid on an icy area, other vehicles will do the same. Oftentimes, and especially with winter weather related accidents, it’s not the initial crash that takes people’s lives. It’s the secondary or follow up collisions.
If your vehicle is still drivable, move away from the crash scene immediately. Not only will you want to avoid other out of control vehicles, but the actual presence of your vehicle in the road may become an obstacle and cause more accidents.
What if your vehicle is not drivable? You will want to exit the vehicle, but only if you have enough time to quickly exit the roadway. Make sure there is no oncoming traffic. Get to a safe area such as behind a guard rail or anywhere that will take you away from any out of control vehicles. Never – ever get out and stand in the middle of the road next to your vehicle. Also, beware that many bridges have gaps in between them with huge drop offs. There are many deaths that occur each year from falls, so be sure to be mindful of these areas.
Contact Warren Auto Body Shop, Pole Position Auto Body
If you find yourself in an accident this winter, the last thing you need is to worry about who you can trust to repair your vehicle. Contact Pole Position Auto Body and we will get you back on the road quickly and stress-free. We have a proven track record of providing high quality repairs nearly 3 days quicker than the average facility.