Iowa is known for its rolling plains and farmlands – and its changeable weather. The state has hot summers, cold winters and wet springs and falls, and that means drivers need to be alert and cautious as they go.
These are some of the most common weather-related hazards drivers in this state tend to encounter at different points throughout the year.
Iowa winters are notorious for their heavy snowfall, icy roads and freezing temperatures. In fact, at least one study declared Iowa “the 7th most dangerous state” for driving in the snow. Snowstorms can make driving conditions extremely hazardous, reducing visibility and causing slippery roads, while accumulated snow and ice can lead to spin outs and multi-car accidents. To cope with this weather:
- Equip your vehicle with winter tires or chains.
- Maintain a safe following distance.
- Drive at reduced speeds.
It’s also smart to always keep an emergency kit in your car with essentials like blankets, snacks, and a flashlight – just in case you get stranded behind a wreck or the road becomes impassable for a while.
When rain freezes on contact with cold surfaces, it creates a thin, invisible layer of ice known as “black ice.” Black ice is treacherous because it can catch drivers off guard, causing them to lose control of their vehicles very easily. To handle freezing rain and icy conditions:
- Slow down and avoid sudden movements
- Use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses, as they freeze first
It always helps to keep your windshield and mirrors clear of ice and remind yourself not to panic if you feel your wheels slip, since overcorrecting your course or slamming on the brakes can cause your vehicle to spin out.
Fog is another weather condition that’s particularly common in Iowa winters, and it can creep up on drivers rather suddenly. Fog can reduce visibility on the road to just a few feet, making it difficult to see other vehicles or obstacles on the road. When you are stuck driving through fog:
- Use your low-beam headlights to increase visibility
- Reduce your speed significantly
If you can, pull over and find a place to rest for a little while to see if the fog lifts. If you can’t, make sure you stay focused and attentive, avoiding all distractions.
In poor weather conditions, car accidents are common – and it may not be easy to determine who is at fault. That’s just one of the reasons why it’s so important to take appropriate steps to protect your legal interests if you’ve been injured. If you don’t seek legal guidance to help you properly determine liability, you may not be able to secure any compensation that is rightfully yours.