As much as Rochester residents have grown used to rough winters, colder weather can nonetheless be rough on all of us. It’s become particularly difficult to prepare for winter snowstorms due to the yearly fluctuations in temperatures, making them harder to predict. In this past season, the wintertime has already been expensive due to regular costs. Usually, you can expect to have about 42% of your utility bill made up through heating, though these costs can of course rise during particularly harsh winters. However, the seasonal costs will only rise due to the recent snowstorm. Many of them will be associated with damage done at home, and will, therefore, be taken care of by individual homeowners by and large. A big concern, according to a consumer survey, will be roofing — 65% of homeowners reported that this was their major concern following weather damage, and a snowstorm can certainly do a good bit of damage to a typical roof.
With that being said, it’s important that public grounds are made safe as well, and this will fall to the state. With that being said, let’s look into the road conditions following severe weather in Rochester, how to stay safe on these roads, and what is going to happen to make them safer for everyone.
Why Are Roads Particularly Dangerous During The Wintertime?
Winter is perhaps the most dangerous time of year to go driving. While summer and spring may see more rain — leading to many drivers losing control of their vehicles and spinning out — ultimately it’s much riskier to go driving after the temperatures lower. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. For one thing, the winter may seem dry but often includes a good amount of precipitation itself — not only in the form of freezing rain, but ice, snow, and even hail. The most obvious concern, in this case, is ice. It’s even harder for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles on icy roads as opposed to watery ones. Furthermore, black ice is a particularly dangerous factor consider, as it’s difficult for drivers to identify ahead of time. Snow can cake on roads, hardening and forming icy patches, or it can melt and become slush, which causes an involuntary slowing of vehicles similar to that of water, but more solid. And, when driving through a snowfall, it can be exceptionally difficult for drivers to see ahead, even when they use their headlights. Not only do they have to contend with the snow itself, but also the heavy cloud cover that will usually come with it. This can result in an increase in accidents, especially when layered on top of the ice and snow issues. If drivers end up spinning off the road and damaging their vehicles during a snowstorm, they could be at risk of being overly exposed to the elements. This is particularly dangerous when you’re driving on remote roads, and many people have fallen prey to the dangers of being stranded on the side of the road during the winter. The roads themselves can also be greatly damaged during bad winter weather. Not only are they easily damaged in the aftermath of bad car accidents — but the particularly heavy downfall of hail can cause the roads to become uneven and cracked, and they can even cause or exacerbate potholes.
What Can I Do To Be Safe When Driving During The Winter?
Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to stay safer on winter roads — even following weather events like the Rochester snowstorm. Many of them come down to being a more proactive and defensive driver. You will most certainly want to be on the lookout when driving. Not only will you need to worry about the immediate effects of bad weather like the snowstorm, but the aftereffects as well. Be prepared for road closings and the resulting extra traffic, as well as bumpier and more uneven roads. For that matter, don’t wait for the evening to turn your lights on if a day is particularly overcast. If you see the signs of a snowstorm brewing — even if it was not initially projected by the weather forecasters — you may want to consider not leaving your house or place of work until you’re sure that it’s cleared. This is especially true if your commute involves isolated roads. That being said, there are also steps you can take to ensure that your car is more prepared to drive on winter roads. If you haven’t already, have your vehicle inspected to ensure that it is road-ready. The last thing you would want to deal with would be an engine failure on a wintry road. You can also exchange your typical tires for a set of winter-ready tires. Be on the lookout for ice or leftover slush — and be aware that each year, there are 5.5 million car accidents in the United States alone. While not all of them are completely preventable, you must do what you can to ensure that you stay safe.
What Is The State Doing About The Roads?
The state is also doing what it must to aid in repairing Rochester’s post-snowstorm roads. In fact, it’s been announced that there will be $17.5 million allocated in funding for Rochester-area road repairs. These could include mending potholes as well as damaged guard rails and will ensure that the roads are safe moving further into 2020.
While this project is crucial to better the roads, you must also be alert regarding your own personal safety. Be careful when driving — and don’t underestimate winter roads.
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