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Winter Driving Safety Tips

With winter weather comes driving hazards that can cause serious accidents. The general practice attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill suggest ways of preventing car accidents as the result of icy conditions as the temperature drops.

Slippery roads caused by ice and snow are a leading cause of car accidents. Roads with a lower coefficient of friction prevent tires from maintaining their grip on its surface, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Faced with the challenge of such conditions, what can drivers do to maintain their safety while traveling to their destination?

The following practices will help to ensure that motorists set out for their destinations prepared for the challenges of winter weather conditions.

Pre-Planning for Winter Weather

  • Perform pre-snow maintenance. If you are in the market for new tires, be sure to purchase four with a tread thicker than 6/32 of an inch. Clean the inside of your windows and be sure that your windshield wipers perform sufficiently. Ensure that your headlights are visible prior to moving your vehicle.
  • Plan for every delay. Seek out detailed traffic and weather information about your entire route prior to leaving your house, and give yourself plenty of extra time in cases of unexpected obstructions and slowdowns.
  • Maintain a surplus of supplies. During periods of mild to severe winter weather, maintain a half a tank of gas at all times and frequently refill your vehicle’s deicer fluid. Keep blankets, outerwear accessories such as gloves, a flashlight, nonperishable food and any important medications in an emergency kit for the rare instance of a multi-hour traffic delay or breakdown.
  • Check vehicle specs and features. Most cars are equipped with anti-lock brakes, and many come with four-wheel or all-wheel drive. Additionally, models built after 2012 were required to have electronic stability control, which assists with back-wheel traction. All of these features cause vehicles to operate differently in winter weather conditions.

Maintaining your safety on icy roads isn’t only a product of advance planning. Motorists should also ensure that they are familiar with effective strategies and techniques for safe winter driving to reduce risks of harm to them as well as the other vehicles on the road.

Tips for Driving in Wintery Weather Conditions

  • Clear the fog. Quickly defrost your windows by turning your air settings on defrost mode and activating the air conditioner. The flowing air need not be cool – the fog will dissipate no matter the temperature.
  • Make yourself visible. Always turn on your lights while driving in questionable weather conditions.
  • Maintain control while braking. If you find yourself braking hard to avoid an obstacle, attempt subtle, gentle steering maneuvers to navigate around it. If the vehicle begins to slide, these gentle maneuvers will help direct the car back in the desired direction once control is regained. Avoid large jerking motions of the wheel that could cause further sliding by focusing your eyes on the direction in which you want your vehicle to move.
  • Avoid features that reduce driver control. During the winter, particularly in adverse weather conditions, it is best to avoid using cruise control and the parking brake, as they decrease motorists’ ability to maintain full control of their vehicles.

Using these tips, motorists can decrease their risk of a car accident due to dangerous winter road conditions. Should an accident occur, it is helpful to contact an attorney who specializes in car accident law to ensure that you receive the compensation you are afforded.

To speak to an attorney about your car accident or personal injury case, please contact the law offices of Murnane & O’Neill today.