Stay Prepared: Winter Driving Safety
Winter is a beautiful, special season, but it can be one of the trickiest times of the year, too. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17 percent of all vehicle crashes happen in winter conditions. The extra layers of snow on the ground can make it dangerous to drive. Ice buildup can make even starting your car a challenge. In this frosty period of time, it is essential to take extra precautions to ensure your car is safe to drive and that you are driving safely. In this post, we will outline special safety precautions you can take to ensure you know all about winter driving safety.
Prepare Your Car
Winter driving safety can start before you take to the roads. Many times, car accidents can be blamed on improper car maintenance, like a dead battery or tires with poor treads. Keeping up on your car’s maintenance could save you a lot of hassle in the long run. To prepare your car for winter driving, review the below car maintenance checklist before the wintery weather hits:
- Maintain antifreeze levels
- Service your vehicle's radiator
- Keep the gas tank full
- Check your tires’ air pressure and tread.
- If necessary, replace your tires with snow tires or all-weather tires.
- Replace your windshield washer fluid with a wintertime formula
In addition to proper car maintenance, keeping a winter emergency kit in your car could is vital: it could even save your life. Being stranded in the wintertime is not uncommon, and it can take a deadly turn if you are stranded in an unfamiliar place or on an isolated road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preparing your car with some common items can help keep you safe until help reaches you. Before you take off for your next wintertime drive, the CDC recommends packings a winter emergency kit with the following items:
- Cell phone, portable charger, extra batteries
- Warm clothing, including a hat, coat, and gloves
- A blanket or sleeping bag
- Water and nonperishable food items
- Flares, a tire pump, booster cables, and a bag of cat litter or sand for traction
- Maps and a compass
- A flashlight, extra batteries, and a battery-powered radio
- A first-aid kit.
Along with your winter emergency kit, keep your car accident checklist on hand in case you are in a winter driving accident with another person.
Taking care to drive cautiously in winter weather could not only save your life but the life of another driver. Slick roads can cause distracted or impatient drivers to skid on the ice and crash into other vehicles. In the wintertime, make sure to drive slowly; it’s harder to stop or control your vehicle on icy and snow-covered roads.
Every car handles differently, especially when driving on icy, snowy, or wet roads. Take time to learn how your vehicle handles in winter driving conditions, such as whether it takes longer to stop on ice before a stop sign. Also, remember to increase your following distance behind other vehicles so that you’ll have enough time to stop.
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
Winter weather can drastically change your driving plans or normal route to work. Before you drive, check the local weather and traffic conditions, and map out your route accordingly. Plan additional time to get to your destination because you’ll be driving more slowly. Speeding in winter weather can quickly turn into an accident if you hit a patch of ice.
Protect Your Passengers
While driving safely is a year-round habit, extra precautions need to be taken in the winter to ensure you and your passengers are safe. Make sure children in your vehicle are in age- and size-appropriate child seats, and make sure you are buckled in too. Never use your phone or electronic devices while driving, so stow them safely away. As always, never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Were You in a Driving Accident?
As the weather gets colder and icier, driving accidents become more and more common. If you've been in a car accident, ensure your rights are protected against negligent drivers and reach out to our car accident attorneys at AVA Law Group.
Our team works fights tirelessly to make sure you and others who are hurt in car accidents get the justice and compensation they deserve. To learn about your rights after a car accident, reach out to us today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call us today at 1(800)777-4141.