Hundreds of Minnesotans die in car accidents every year, but 2020 was a particular bad year for traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, almost 400 people in the state passed away due to car wrecks.
Most traffic accidents are preventable, and being aware of safe driving strategies can save lives. Learning to drive safely in winter weather is especially important in the state of Minnesota. You should be aware of the most common causes of traffic deaths and the best ways to reduce the risk of an accident.
The year 2020 was the deadliest year for traffic accidents in Minnesota since 2015. Data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows that 394 motorists died in crashes in 2020 while 2015 had 411 traffic deaths.
The deadliest month of the year was July with 54 deaths. Both August and September had 47 deaths. April was the safest month with 20 fatalities.
The two age groups with the most fatalities were 21 to 30 and 61 to 70. Both groups suffered 71 fatalities in 2020.
There are several causes of traffic fatalities, but speeding is the most common. Of the 411 Minnesota motorist deaths in 2020, 118 occurred because drivers were going too fast. There were 1,034 citations given to drivers going over 100 mph, which is almost double the number issued in 2019.
The second-most common cause of death was driving under the influence, which led to 109 traffic fatalities. However, there were fewer arrests for driving under the influence than there were in the previous year. Police issued 22,653 citations for driving under the influence in 2020, which is down by about 5,000 from 2019.
The next leading cause of traffic fatalities was unbelted motorists, which resulted in 102 deaths. Many traffic accidents resulted in the deaths of bicyclists and pedestrians, too.
The wintertime brings about several challenges for drivers. Shorter daylight hours lead to more time on the road at night, which can increase the risk of a crash. Inclement weather can make the roads much more dangerous, too.
While you can’t control how other motorists drive, you can take some important steps to stay safe during the winter. If possible, avoid driving in snowy or icy conditions. If you have to travel, leave early so that you can take your time and drive cautiously. Always wear your seat belt, and make sure passengers in your car are buckled up before you drive.
After a snowstorm, clear all the snow and ice from your vehicle. Snow on your mirrors or windshield can obstruct your vision, and snow on the roof of your car could fly off and put other drivers at risk of a crash.
If the roads are in poor condition, drive below the speed limit. Increase your stopping distance, and keep plenty of space between your car and snowplows. Keep your headlights on during snow and sleet so that other drivers can see your car from a distance.
When your car skids, try to stay calm. Ease your foot off the gas pedal, and gently turn the steering wheel in the right direction. If your vehicle uses an anti-lock braking system, don’t pump the brakes. Instead, apply firm and steady pressure to the pedal.
Driving in winter weather can be stressful even for the most seasoned motorists. By remaining calm and careful, though, you can greatly reduce your risk of a crash. The year 2020 was deadly for Minnesota drivers, but 2021 can be safer if motorists take precautions.
If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle crash in Minnesota or the surrounding states, Schwebel, Goetz, & Sieben is here to help. You deserve compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income, but it can be difficult to recover these damages without help from a professional, experienced attorney. Our lawyers will handle the legal proceedings so that you can focus on healing. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (612) 377-7777 or toll-free at 1 (800) 752-4265 or visit https://www.schwebel.com/ for more information.