Unprepared driving is dangerous driving, especially in the wintertime. Do not hit the road until you know how to handle driving in snow and ice.
Winter driving does not need to be a stressful or dangerous experience. While you are not able to control every winter driving situation, there is still plenty you can do to make sure you get to your destination safely and smoothly.
Preparation is key in any driving situation, regardless of weather conditions. Keeping your car stocked with emergency supplies could be life-saving in serious circumstances. Aside from the requisite flashlight, flares, water bottles and jumper cables, consider these items to be an essential part of your winter emergency kit:
- Gloves or mittens
- Windshield scraper
- Ice and road salt, or cat litter
Check your car before you leave, and make sure it is equipped to handle winter weather conditions. Run through a mental check list: do the tires have enough tread (6/32 of an inch is the minimum recommendation for wintry conditions)? Do you have at least a half tank of gas? Do the windshield wipers work, and do you have enough anti-freeze?
Clean Your Car
A well-scraped windshield does not represent a fully cleaned vehicle after a winter storm. In fact, it is illegal in some states to operate a vehicle covered in ice and snow, as loose debris from a snow or ice covered car could cause an accident. Take the extra time and effort to remove snow and ice from the roof, sides, tires, and front hood of the vehicle. This will not only help improve your vision while driving, but will also prevent others from getting into accidents due to your negligence.
While it is important to be a cautious driver all the time, cautious driving is even more important in winter conditions. Remain aware of the drivers and the environment around you. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by electronic devices or other passengers.
Drive slower than the posted speed limits–speed limits are made for clear, dry driving conditions. If a decision seems risky, it probably is; give yourself ample time to get to your destination so you are less tempted to make reckless decisions for the sake of saving a few minutes of drive time. Aggressive driving in snow and ice will put you and those around you in danger.
Give Way for Snow Plows
Do not attempt to pass a snow plow, and stay away from the center lane when a plow is approaching you. Avoid the roads completely if possible so that snow removal crews can do their job. The sooner they clear the roads, the sooner you can head toward your destination with confidence.
Handle Skidding Calmly
It is easier said than done, but panicking when the car begins to skid is a recipe for disaster. Stay calm, and make no sudden movements. Neither braking nor accelerating will improve the situation. Instead, turn the wheel gently in the direction you wish to go. Your tires will eventually regain traction, after which you can continue on your way safely.
In certain situations accidents are inevitable—even if you have made all the right decisions. If you have been involved in an accident this winter and require representation, contact the ENLawyers today.