The greater Seattle area generally has a relatively mild climate. It doesn’t seem as cold of temperatures or as much snow as other northern parts of the United States. The Puget Sound region benefits from the ocean nearby, which helps the area maintain steady temperatures throughout the year.
While snow and ice events aren’t as common in Seattle as they may be in Juno or Minneapolis, they occur frequently enough for residents to need to hone their winter driving skills. Those who live in or frequently visit the Seattle area need to be aware of how all of the potential snow and ice caused by winter precipitation can affect their safety on the road.
Any frozen precipitation is a safety risk
Even the lightest dusting of snow can make the roads slippery and affect your traction on the road. Heavier amounts of snow and solid ice can lead to drivers completely losing control of their vehicles. Someone may find themselves unable to stop. Their vehicle may skid in a manner that they did not intend, or they could end up spinning in the street. Frozen precipitation can also cover up debris or potholes that could lead to vehicles becoming disabled.
Seattle does not maintain a fleet of snow removal vehicles, which means that heavy precipitation may leave some areas difficult to travel. There are municipal trucks that workers can fit with plows, but the city recognizes that they do not have enough to clear all of the roads. In fact, many steep hills become unsafe to drive on in snowy or icy conditions.
How drivers can stay safe
Although some businesses and schools will close during storms due to the strain on the infrastructure and risk on the roads, some people will still need to travel during inclement winter weather. Maintaining longer following distances and traveling at slower speeds is necessary whenever there is ice or snow visible on the road.
Snow and ice cause hundreds of deaths each year around the country, many of which involve motor vehicle collisions. Understanding the risks that come with winter weather could potentially save the lives of those driving on the roads during the colder seasons in Washington.