The threat of ice, snow, and the classic “wintry mix” brings new hazards to the roadways. Winter weather plays a role in the increased number of car accidents this time of year. This is especially true in the South, where most residents are not accustomed to driving in winter conditions.
Keep these winter weather driving tips in mind while driving in ice or snow.
- Check your tires. Your vehicle’s tires are what keep it on the road in slick conditions, so make sure each tire is properly inflated and has plenty of treads.
- Know your route. Before heading out into deteriorating weather conditions, make sure the roads and highways you plan to use are clear. Make someone aware of your route and the estimated time of arrival.
- Be prepared. Being stranded on the side of the road in freezing weather due to impassable roads or an automobile accident can be a recipe for disaster, so be sure and pack emergency supplies in your trunk. These should include blankets, waterproof boots, gloves, cold weather gear, flashlight, flares, food, and water.
- Never warm up a vehicle in a garage or closed area. There’s a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Keep the gas tank filled at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
- Avoid stopping your vehicle in traffic. There is a big difference in the amount of inertia required to start moving from a full stop, versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Keep your distance. Expect the unexpected and allow several car lengths between you and the driver ahead of you—at least one car length for every 10 mph of your speed of travel.
- Don’t overreact. If you find yourself spinning out of control after hitting a slick spot in the road, don’t overreact and hit the brakes. This can cause you to further lose control of the vehicle. Instead, take your foot off of the gas and gently turn the wheel of your vehicle into the spin.
- Avoid using parking brake in cold, rainy, and snowy weather.
- Never use Cruise Control on slick or icy roads.
- If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.
- Don’t try to push or dig your vehicle out of snow.
- Stay connected, but don’t be distracted. Carry a car charger for your mobile phone, and tune to reliable radio stations for road condition updates. If you are using a traffic app, don’t be a distracted driver. Let your passenger monitor the digital media, or pull off the road if you need to check it.
- Stay home! If it isn’t absolutely necessary to drive in icy conditions, stay safely inside with your loved ones.
While following these tips can help keep you safe, it’s important to remember that a car accident can’t always be avoided. That’s why it’s vital that motorists be aware of what steps to take following a traffic collision as well.
Our experienced car accident lawyers have been helping injury victims in Alabama and Tennessee for more than 38 years and are always available to provide free legal consultations. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, call (877) 562-0000 or contact us online today.