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Louisiana isn't exempt from crashes caused by winter weather

Even though Louisiana doesn't get the kind of heavy snowfalls and blizzards that our friends in the northern states deal with this time of year, we're not strangers to wintry conditions. Many Louisianans have already been dealing with icy, snowy roads this season.

Wintry weather conditions across the country killed about 4,000 people in car crashes between 2011 and 2015, according to the Auto Insurance Center (AIC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The states with the highest death rates, not surprisingly, are those around the Great Lakes and in the Upper Midwest. There, snow squalls can cause whiteouts that make it impossible for drivers to see in front of them.

Of course, snow and freezing rain that turns to ice, along with sleet and snow that fall so fast and furiously that windshield wipers can't keep up with it can also lead to deadly conditions for those who have to venture out onto the roads.

In states like ours where people aren't used to driving in these conditions, even a couple of inches of snow and occasional icy conditions can cause serious crashes. Our neighbors in Texas ranked eighth in fatal car crashes. The Auto Insurance Center (AIC) speculates that this could be because drivers there "aren't accustomed to driving in wintry conditions or they may not have the proper car equipment to allow them to drive safely on dangerous roads."

While we can't control the weather, we can control how we drive in it. Experts say that many of these winter weather accidents could be avoided if people slowed down.

If possible, you may want to stay off the roads or at least be especially careful during the most common times they occur -- approximately 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Saturday was found to be the most dangerous days, followed by Friday.

Of course, it's important to make sure that your car is properly maintained during the winter so that if an unexpected snowfall hits, you're ready for it.

No matter how careful we are, we can't always avoid a driver who is less careful or whose vehicle hits an icy patch. Sometimes, drivers get caught in chain-reaction collisions started when one vehicle loses control. If you are the victim of a winter crash, it may be wise to explore your legal options to help cover medical costs and other damages.

Source: USA Today, "Winter car accidents are a deadly weather hazard," Doyle Rice, accessed Dec. 12, 2017

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