Snowfall can be deadly for drivers on the road if they are not careful. Therefore, being extra cautious while driving is important as soon as it starts snowing outside. Given how common snow-related car accidents are in Alaska, go through the following to keep yourself and your family safe while driving in snowy conditions this winter.
Always Check the National Weather Service for Forecasts, Updates, and Warnings
As soon as the snow starts falling, keep an eye on daily updates, advisory statements, warnings, cautions, and watch alerts sent out by the National Weather Service. Check them well before you get into the car, but also keep a tab on them for urgent or emergency developments while you are on the road. Local radio channels are ideal for that, as the broadcast will not distract your eyes from the road while driving.
Plan a Route that Avoids the Unmaintained Highways
Unmaintained roads and highways must be avoided as they can become extremely dangerous to drive through in the middle of the winter. Although the list is subject to changes based on dynamic requirements and developments, avoid the following highways and roads while planning your driving routes during the winter months.
- Nome-Teller Highway (only open till Milepost 8)
- Nome-Taylor Highway (Only open till Milepost 13)
- Council Road (only open till Milepost 3)
- Denali Highway
- Denali Park Highway
- Top-of-the World Highway
- Taylor Highway
- Glacier Creek Road
- Saint Mary’s Road
The exact dates will change, but the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities warn everyone driving these roads from October to May.
Drive Slower than the Speed Limit
Speed limits during snowy and foggy conditions should be observed with extra caution because they help us avoid tragedies. Go through the following points to know what can happen when someone drives too fast in snowy conditions on Alaskan roads.
- Even reinforced tires will lose traction on slippery, snowy roads if you are driving at a higher speed than recommended.
- Cars fall off cliff edges every year because the drivers could not control the drift caused by snow.
- Heavy snowfall and associated weather conditions can make it impossible to see a sharp turn in time and adjust accordingly at high speed.
- Animals cross roads and highways all the time in Alaska and unless you are driving well within the speed limit, you may not be able to stop in time.
- Striking a large animal like a moose is bad news for the moose, the driver, the passengers, and the car.
- A large moose hit by a car will often fall on the car, which can crush a small car under the massive weight.
- You could be endangering yourself, the lives of your passengers, and that of others on the same road by driving recklessly in snow.
There’s only so much that we can do to drive safely under hazardous weather conditions, given that there are several others driving on the same roads. Unfortunate as it is, it cannot be denied that even the best driving practices cannot always keep people safe from the mistakes and bad decisions made by other drivers.
In case you or someone you know has been hurt in a car accident because of someone else’s fault, call now for a free consultation on (907) 290-2576.
Visit our office at 2525 Gambell Street #410, Anchorage, AK 99503.