You may hate to think about snow, sleet , ice and winter driving, but researchers at Iowa State University are doing just that to try and figure out how to make highways safer. Zach Hans, a research engineer for the Center for Transportation Research and Education, says they’re studying maps and accident reports. He says they’re looking at several different factors such as frequency and severity of crashes. He says they’re trying to determine if there are a number of weather-related crashes and if the crashes are more severe than the crashes as a whole.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is paying 24-thousand dollars for the study. He says the D-O-T ultimately would like to look at how they can use the data to evaluate their different options for design and roadside features, such as snowfence. Hans says the study gives more in depth to crash numbers by studying factors that may’ve caused the wrecks. He says they need to look at all the factors to make an assessment of what is going on. He says they can’t look at any one factor to get a true picture. He says for instance, you may have more accidents in a bigger city, but they also have to look at whether those accidents are more severe than others.

Hans says they’re pouring over 10 years of records. He says a typical study would look at five years of records, but he says since they’re looking at such a specific type of crashes, those under poor conditions in the winter, they need to look at a broader period of time. Hans says the study should eventually help the D-O-T better manage the risk on roadways in the winter.