Driving in the Rain & Snow: That’s March in Pennsylvania

snowy car accident

March in Pennsylvania brings cold temperatures as well as rain and snow. In the Harrisburg area, you can expect the sky to be overcast and mostly cloudy just about half of the time. Temperatures range from an average of 29-46 degrees Fahrenheit at the beginning of March to 38-56 degrees by the end of the month. When freezing temperatures hit along with rain, snow is likely.

Two things happen during March in Pennsylvania. The average rainfall steadily increases while the average snowfall steadily decreases. At the beginning of the month, an average of 2 inches of rainfall may be expected. By the end of March, the average rainfall increases to 3.1 inches. Snowfall, on the other hand, decreases from an average of 5.5 inches at the beginning of March to 1.3 inches at the end of the month.

While looking at weather averages is all good and well, there is always the chance that a snowstorm will strike, and motorists in Harrisburg and throughout the commonwealth should exercise extreme caution. Here, we will take a look at the dangers posed by mixed rain and snow and what drivers can do to stay safe on Pennsylvania’s roads during the month of March.

The Dangers of Wet, Heavy Snow

Late season winter storms, such as those that may strike Pennsylvania in March, can create wetter and heavier snow than would fall in colder months. Higher temperatures in March can cause snowflakes to partially melt before they reach the ground. Rain on top of snow is equally dangerous.

Heavy and wet snow poses a threat to homeowners, business owners, and motorists. It lies heavy on rooftops and can be difficult to shovel and clear, disrupting normal activities and causing property damage and power outages. Roads can become slick and treacherous to navigate.

Pennsylvania Motorists Must Take Extra Care in Sleet & “Wintry Mix”

The combination of rain and snow is often referred to as sleet. It has also been aptly called “wintry mix.” In some cases, it can make roads more dangerous than snow alone, creating icy and slushy messes that lead to slick driving conditions.

Drivers on Harrisburg area roadways need to be particularly careful when navigating mixed rain and snow. You may watch rain falling on your windshield, but there’s snow piled up next to the road and ice under your tires. Conditions like these can cause serious auto accidents if you aren’t careful.

While you should avoid driving altogether when the weather is too severe, you can take a few steps to prevent an accident caused by “wintry mix” in Pennsylvania:

  • Reduce your speed
  • Increase your following distance
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly and gently
  • Keep your headlights on
  • Don’t use cruise control

If you hit a patch of ice or wet snow, try not to panic. What you do next will depend on where you are when you lose traction, but the general rule of thumb is to avoid slamming on the brakes or steering aggressively. Instead, gently ease your foot off the gas press slowly on the brake pedal. Try to keep the steering wheel pointed in the direction that you were traveling. Ideally, you can allow your vehicle to glide across the icy or snowy patch until you can gain traction again.

You should also pack some supplies in your vehicle, just in case you have to pull over to the side of the road to wait out a particularly rough patch of weather, or in case you get stranded. These supplies should include food, water, a first aid kit, medical supplies, flashlight, flares, and blankets. If you do pull over, be sure to move your vehicle far enough off the road that it will not be in danger of being hit by a passing car or truck. Put your hazard lights on.

Learn How HHR Can Help You

Driving in the snow and rain can be extremely stressful. Even if you’re careful and do all the right things, you could find yourself involved in an accident because of circumstances outside of your control. If you were in an accident and want to make sure your right to compensation is fully protected, our team at Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC is here to help. We’ve been serving the good people of Pennsylvania for the past 100 years, building a legacy of caring service and powerful counsel that rights the wrongs caused by negligence and wrongdoing.

To find out how we can help you, contact our Pennsylvania car accident attorneys at (888) 498-3023. Your consultation is free!

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