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Is heavy snow more dangerous than light snow?

With our region bracing for another round of winter weather, it is expected that drivers will either stay off the road or they will slow down significantly as road conditions become treacherous. But there is an age old question that has vexed drivers and insurers alike.

Which is more dangerous, roads covered with heavy snow or just a light coating?

This post will explore the answer to this question. 

Of course, driving in heavy snow can be dangerous because of your inability to have contact with the road. This could lead to a driver being stuck, or not being able to slow down in enough time (or at all) before colliding with another car when going down a steep grade, for example.

However, according to statistics and numerous media reports, lightly covered roads (whether by snow or ice) are just as treacherous. The 50 plus car accident in western Michigan just before Christmas is an example of these dangers. There was only a modest amount of snow on the ground before the pile up occurred.

Experts believe that small accumulations can be very dangerous because drivers have not yet adjusted their thinking to accommodate for the added potential slick spots on the road; especially if the road has not been treated yet. In these instances, they are likely to continue to drive at their normal speeds, which increases the likelihood of an accident. Add in the volume of traffic at a given time and it is understandable how light accumulations can be very dangerous.

With that, drivers must use reasonable care when snow starts to fall or ice begins to form on Wisconsin roads. 

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La Crosse, WI 54601

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