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Shapiro & Appleton

Death of Snowmobile Rider Highlights the Dangers of Ice and Snow

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The death of a man whose snowmobile crashed into a truck over the weekend, has highlighted the increased risk of injury and fatalities in icy and snowy weather.

David Jeffery Knapp, 41, died after his snowmobile crashed into a truck Saturday morning in Blue Lake Township, Michigan (MI), News 8 reported.

An eyewitness said the driver of a snowmobile crashed into the left-rear side of a pickup truck parked on the side of the road.

Our sympathies are with Mr. Knapp's family. Although the cause of the crash is unknown, snow and icy conditions of the kind seen recently in Virginia (VA) create an elevated risk of serious injury in accidents involving vehicles.

The careless driving of snowmobiles is the cause of many fatalities.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 100 people die each year in snowmobile accidents and a 13,000 are injured.

Driving in snow, sleet, or that dreaded "wintery mixture" of both poses multiple challenges to drivers. You have to be prepared and understand the dynamics of a snow and/or ice covered road. You certainly don't want to drive around without any inkling of what to do, wind up sliding into the other lane, hitting another vehicle and suffering a serious injury like a broken neck, facial lacerations, or traumatic brain injury.

Just before Christmas snowy conditions caused a huge spike of accidents in Hampton Roads (VA).

The Virginia State Police reported more than 340 traffic accidents between December 25 and December 27, 2010. About half of those car, truck, van and SUV crashes caused injuries to drivers and passengers. The Downtown Tunnel in Portsmouth (VA). was closed for several hours due to wrecked and abandoned vehicles.

Thankfully there were no fatalities. But the severe snow storm that hit Virginia in 2009, left four people dead.

Here are some basic ice and snow driving safety guidelines you should follow...

  • Drive with your headlights on and slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, etc.
  • Winter road conditions often result in longer stopping distances.Give yourself room.
  • Avoid abrupt actions while steering, braking or accelerating to lessen your chance of losing control.
  • Look farther ahead in traffic.
  • Don't cut in front of trucks since they take longer to stop.
  • Avoid using cruise control or overdrive.

DM

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