Driving a vehicle is already inherently dangerous with 262 car related deaths in Nevada just in the year 2013, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. There are multiple causes for automobile accidents. However, road conditions can play a significant role in the likelihood that an accident might occur. Thus far, El Nino is proving to be a driver of unseasonably warm temperatures, in lieu of the normal weather we usually expect. The Huffington Post reports this El Nino might actually rival the worst one on record. The article highlights concern for extreme weather events that will likely mirror the El Nino of 1997-98. The 97-98 El Nino caused around 23,000 deaths globally.
As recently as Christmas, Las Vegas experienced strange weather in the form of rare Christmas Day snow. According to Newsday the snow, in conjunction with rain showers, tied a Christmas Day record set in 1941 (but also tied in 1988 and 2008). Most of the snow melted later that morning, but other parts of Nevada experienced low visibility from the storm. At one point, Interstate 80 was shut down due to the increase in vehicle accidents.
How to Stay Safe Driving in Inclement Weather
The extreme weather caused by El Nino can come without warning so it is very important you prepare yourself for the potential of extreme weather. AAA highlighted some wet weather driving tips it finds to be crucial to safe driving. First and foremost, cruise control should be avoided in wet road conditions. Without cruise control on, the driver will be better able to respond to changes in road conditions. Second is to slow down. Keeping a slower speed will reduce the risk a car might have of hydroplaning. Third is to not panic. If a car begins to lose control the worst thing that can happen is for the driver to panic. Panicking may result in slamming on the brakes or turning abruptly, which may actually increase the chance of an accident.
While you may adhere to these tips, other drivers may not be as cautious. Even for experienced drivers, the Federal Highway Administration still reports that weather-related conditions were responsible for 22% of all vehicle crashes from 2004-2013, and 16% of crash fatalities. This only accounts for wet weather related conditions. Residents of Las Vegas are more likely to be familiar with haboobs (dust storms) than the average tourist. These storms can occur without warning. The National Weather Service suggests that, in a dust storm, you should immediately pull off the roadway and turn off your lights. If you leave your lights on vehicles behind you may accidently follow you thinking you are still on the roadway. While you may know the dangers of these phenomena, that does not make you immune to accidents on the road.
What Can You do?
You should be as prepared as possible to ensure your safety if you are driving during inclement weather. No matter how prepared you are, there is no guarantee you will be 100% safe. If you become involved in an automobile accident you may have a claim against another party, but the only way to know for sure is to contact a licensed Nevada automobile accident attorney.