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How Do Weather Events Impact Roads?

Community Involvement General Practice Areas Automobile Accidents  

An open road covered in snow with a foggy atmosphere.

When winter hits in Indiana, we all know how downhill road conditions can go. The weather has more impact on our daily lives than we tend to realize—at least until the air turns cold, precipitation turns snowy, and we hit that first “black ice” patch of the season.

Staying safe on the roads during the sometimes treacherous winter months really comes down to being prepared for what could happen. It’s important to at least be aware of the worst case scenarios so, if and when they do happen, you’re able to keep calm and minimize the danger for yourself and others.

Here is a quick list of the different types of weather we see throughout the year and what might happen to change the norm when they appear.

Air Temperature and Humidity

  • No roadway impacts.
  • No traffic flow impacts.
  • Potential operational impacts include road treatment strategy (e.g. snow and ice control) and construction planning (e.g. paving and striping).

Wind Speed

  • Potential roadway impacts include visibility distance (due to blowing snow and/or dust) and lane obstruction (due to windblown snow and/or debris).
  • Potential traffic flow impacts include traffic speed, travel time delay, and accident risk.
  • Potential operational impacts include vehicle performance (e.g. stability), access control (e.g. restricted vehicle type, closed roads), and evacuation decision support.

Precipitation

  • Potential roadway impacts include visibility distance, pavement friction, and lane obstruction.
  • Potential traffic flow impacts include roadway capacity, traffic speed, travel time delay, and accident risk.
  • Potential operational impacts include vehicle performance (e.g. traction), driver capabilities/behavior, road treatment strategy, traffic signal timing, speed limit control, evacuation decision support, and institutional coordination.

Fog

  • Potential roadway impacts include visibility distance.
  • Potential traffic flow impacts include traffic speed, speed variance, travel time delay, and accident risk.
  • Potential operational impacts include driver capabilities/behavior, road treatment strategy, access control, and speed limit control.

Pavement Temperature

  • Potential roadway impacts include infrastructure damage.
  • No traffic flow impacts.
  • Potential operational impacts include road treatment strategy.

Pavement Condition

  • Potential roadway impacts include pavement friction and infrastructure damage.
  • Potential traffic flow impacts include roadway capacity, traffic speed, travel time delay, and accident risk.
  • Potential operational impacts include vehicle performance, driver capabilities/behavior (e.g. route choice), road treatment strategy, traffic signal timing, and speed limit control.

Water Level

  • Potential roadway impacts include lane submersion.
  • Potential traffic flow impacts include traffic speed, travel time delay, and accident risk.
  • Potential operational impacts include access control, evacuation decision support, and institutional coordination.

Stay safe on the roads this Indiana winter! And if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact a skilled Fort Wayne car accident attorney who will aggressively fight for your rights to get you the money you deserve.

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