Changeable weather temperature, rainfall and snowfall January this year aggravated considerably driving conditions on Latvian roads and increased the risk of traffic accidents. It also tallies with the statistics compiled by BTA Baltic insurance Company AAS (hereinafter – BTA) – BTA received 145 insurance indemnity applications January this year for transport vehicle damages caused by car skidding off the carriageway, which is a 75 % increase in comparison with December last year.
In January, BTA on average received five insurance indemnity applications a day for accidents caused by icy or slippery roads and car drivers unable to control their transport vehicles on such a road. Estimated total insurance indemnity sum of such accidents claimed in January might reach 330 thousand euros, which is by 100 thousand more than BTA disbursed in insurance indemnities for such kind of accidents last months – December last year.
Iveta Rijniece, Insurance Joint Stock Company BTA Baltic Insurance Company, Director of Insurance Claims Handling Department: “BTA received the largest amount of applications during the first weeks of January, when snowfall and snowstorm complicated driving in addition to thaw and ice covering. January is the traditional “rush hour” month when we receive a record high amount of insurance indemnity applications for such kind of traffic accidents and the losses caused thereby to our customers. November last year was the only exception from the previous years, when Latvia was surprised by intense snowfall in the beginning of the month, which induced an increase in traffic accident number. November last year, BTA received 200 insurance indemnity applications for transport vehicle damages caused by car skidding off the carriageway. Although icy roads increase the risk of traffic accidents considerably, human error is also quite a frequent reason of such accidents – lack of experience of the driver, appropriate snow tyres not placed or replaced on time, inappropriate driving speed followed and tailgating”.
In accordance with the information summarized by BTA, the largest part of January accidents (60 %), when transport vehicles went skidding on the roads, occurred in Riga district and in the neighbourhoods, frequently on the main streets of the city. In the rest of Latvia, cars went skidding less frequently. In January 11 % of all such accidents claimed by BTA customers occurred in Zemgale region, while Vidzemes region show the lowest rates – 7 % from the total number.
The consequences of car going skidding may be different – as of comparatively insignificant damages (damaged tyres when driving onto guardrail or other road obstruction, scratched or slightly damaged car body) up to quite significant damages, if a car goes skidding off the carriageway and turns over. For example, December last year a 2015 Subary Legacy car driven by one of BTA customers started to go skidding when turning, which led to the car riding off the carriageway and turning turtle in Gulbene region. In the result of the accident, the car is beyond repair.
“We summarized the information on the reasons of traffic accidents in winter period, and it should be noted that the largest amount of accidents occurred due to tailgating, when drivers appeared to be unable to control their transport vehicles and they rode into the vehicle ahead. Several accidents occurred in the course of manoeuvring, when changing lines, trying to outpaces the cars ahead or turning, transport vehicle went skidding and ran into another transport vehicle or a road obstruction – guardrail, fencing or traffic sign. Complicated driving conditions led to car drivers quite frequent getting into traffic accidents, especially in the cities, due to inobservance or negligence of the sign “Give road” or when drivers did not manage to stop timely before the respective sign. Meteorologists forecast that weather conditions characteristic of winter period – frost, snowfall and snowstorm will also maintain in February, that is why is important for the drivers to remember that driving in winter differs significantly from driving in summer. We suggest drivers to follow weather forecasts, to listen to Latvijas Valsts ceļi AS (JSC Latvian State Roads) warnings about slippery road sections and to be twice as attentive when driving a slippery road”, points out I.Rijniece.
In order to avoid getting yourself or others endangered and exposed to potential risk, BTA specialists encourage drivers to observe the basic principles of safe driving – to choose a driving speed appropriate for the weather conditions and the state of the road, to check the technical state of the car before you go and to be careful on slippery road sections.
Public relations manager
AAS BTA Baltic Insurance Company
Tel. 67025661, mob. tel. 2782879