Column: White Christmas is not so safe

Sydney Edwards, Copy Editor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s Christmas time. There are Christmas trees, Christmas lights on houses and lots of shopping to bring smiles to the  faces of loved ones.

Besides gifts and loved ones coming home from far away, what is the one other thing people wish for on Christmas?

Snow.

People always want snow on Christmas. I mean, who doesn’t love a “White Christmas?”

However, we cannot forget that Christmas also happens in December. December brings winter which brings snow, sleet and ice.

Snow on Christmas can look and feel so magical, but the reality is that snow is a beautifully dangerous thing. Snow is wet, frozen and slick. Snow causes people to fall on sidewalks, in parking lots or in driveways. Snow causes people to get hurt.

One of the biggest ways that snow causes people to get injured every year is through car accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s website, the years 2002-2012 there were 211,188 crashes, 58,011 people injured and 769 people killed in those crashes due to snow/sleet.

This is just over 10 years. This may not be including the people whose cars slip into ditches because many people do not report those. They just call someone to come get the car out.

Those numbers only include what happens when it is currently snowing/sleeting. However, snow still causes damages after it is on the ground and when it starts to melt. Between the years 2002-2012 there were 175,233 crashes, 43,503 people injured and 572 people killed from snow/slushy pavement.

Overall, in that time span snow and sleet claimed 17 percent of the weather-related vehicle crashes and snow/slushy pavement claimed 14 percent of all weather-related vehicle crashes. When you add that together, snow is the reason for 31 percent of vehicle-related car crashes.

This information isn’t even including the statistics of vehicle crashes related to ice. Ice claims 12 percent of all weather-related crashes. When you think about it, snow is even a factor in ice. When the snow melts, it leaves a lot of water behind. When that water freezes, it creates ice on the roads.

When you look at the big picture, snow causes car crashes. Car crashes cause people to get injured or even die.

Snow hurts people. Snow can hurt the people you love while they are on the way to come see you on Christmas.

While snow is pretty and makes for a perfect “White Christmas,” it also makes for a dangerous Christmas.

This year, instead of wishing for a “White Christmas,” wish for a safe and happy Christmas.

 

Sydney Edwards is freshman  journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]