The harsh weather of winter 2014 may be the costliest in decades and Ohio isn’t spared from this expense. Since the start of this frigid winter, Dayton auto accidents have been a regular occurrence due to the Polar Vortex and the countless snow storms to hit the Ohio region. Reports show that 30 Dayton car accidents occur daily due to snow, reduced visibility, and icy roads. These Dayton auto accidents not only pose a danger to driver’s vehicles, but also endanger Ohio drivers and passengers. Several ice-related crashes have lead to the death of several Ohioans during the last few months.
According to the Ohio Insurance Institute, Ohio insured losses from 2014 have reached close to $100 million and $1.5 billion nationwide. The estimated figures from the national Insurance Information Institute show that 2014 is in the top 5 costliest winters since 1980. Over 175,000 claims have been filed between January 1st and February 21st using data compiled by the data analysis group, Verisk Analytics. The Ohio Insurance Institute has stated that, specifically, the Polar Vortex from January 5-8 is the second costliest winter storm in Ohio since 1993. Insured losses have come from a variety of sources, but the biggest source of loss is auto accidents and vehicle damage due to winter conditions.
The Ohio State Patrol has reported that I-75 in downtown Dayton is particularly dangerous during winter storms and should be avoided. They experience more Dayton crashes there than in any other areas of the city. The department also advises Dayton drivers to remain safe this winter by avoiding dangerous roads, keeping a safe distance between vehicles, and driving slowly and cautiously while out and about. This is particularly importance since 98 percent of all traffic accidents during winter weather are caused by unsafe driving speeds on icy roads. Not keeping enough distance between your vehicle and other vehicles will also increase the chances for an accident. These tips can help avoid accidents if you are out on icy roads, but the best way to remain safe is to avoid driving until roads are clear.
The dangerous winter weather in Dayton has caused many road problems that have lead to further insurance claims. The Ohio Department of Transportation has received over 76 complaints since January 1st related to damaged roadways caused by ice or snow. This is triple the number received from storms in 2013. In 2013, the department only saw 95 claims for damaged roadways throughout the entire year. The winter weather has made potholes bigger, broken curbs, cracked roads, and made bridges unsafe to navigate. The Department of Transportation estimates that it will pay almost as much in pothole claims and other damaged roadway claims as it did in 2011, when it paid over $195,000 to Ohio drivers. The cost of claims filed against the department could skyrocket even higher if a death occurs. In October 2013, a man from Wayne County was killed when he lost control of the vehicle after driving over a pot hole. The man’s estate has filed a wrongful death suit against the state for $5 million in February 2014. [February 2014,http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/winter-season-one-of-the-costliest-for-damages/ndk7f/]