Winter Driving Safety: Five Tips for Driving during the Winter Months

Driving during the winter months can lead to different challenges. If you are not careful and do not think ahead, you may find yourself in dangerous situations when it comes to driving. Not only are there challenges with the inclement weather, holiday traffic adds to this dilemma.

Below are some tips on what you can implement while you are behind the wheel to avoid a collision this winter from the auto accident attorneys at Nimmons Malchow Johnson.

ADJUST YOUR SPEED | KNOW WHEN AND HOW TO ACCELERATE

Winter Driving SafetyA good reminder, and a critical factor in remaining safe on the roadways, is to adjust your speed and know when and how to accelerate. When driving on ice or snow, always adjust your speed to account for decreased traction, even if it seems like there is not any snow or ice present. Do not try to take stop quickly. Give yourself enough time to slow down for stop lights.

There is a significant difference in the required amount of inertia to start moving your vehicle from a full stop in icy and snowy weather and how much is power is needed to get going while the car is still moving. Upon approaching a stop light, it is recommended that you slow down just enough to keep the vehicle in motion until it changes so you can proceed.

On snow-covered roads, applying extra gas will only make your wheels spin, so try to get a bit of momentum built up before you reach a hill and let it carry you to the top rather than being forced to accelerate significantly. As you reach the crest of the hill, slow down and proceed down the hill slowly. While going downhill on icy or snowy roads, do not ever slam on brakes. If you are driving uphill on an icy road, do not stop. You may find yourself in a difficult situation if you try to move uphill from a dead stop. You should always build up momentum on a flat roadway before you attempt to drive uphill.

MAKE SURE TO INCREASE YOUR FOLLOWING DISTANCE

Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. That is, when following behind someone, the time it takes you to get to a landmark they just passed should be five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance suggested by AAA Driving Tips.

No matter what kind of brakes your vehicle has, make sure to keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply steady and solid pressure to the brakes. If you slam on brakes, they will more than likely lock up, causing you to lose control of the vehicle. Keep in mind that winter driving will mean using brakes more often which leads to a slower commute. It is not only difficult to slow down on icy surfaces, it also takes more time to do so.

MAKE SURE YOUR EXHAUST PIPE IS CLEAR

Inspect your exhaust pipe before driving your vehicle. Remove any snow, dirt, or mud that may have clogged it. Toxic carbon monoxide gas may leak into the car’s cabin while the engine runs if the exhaust pipe is clogged which puts you and your passengers at serious risk.

MAKE SURE YOUR VEHICLE IS WINTER READY

Preparation is of the utmost importance when it comes to winter driving. Get your tires inspected to make sure they have the proper inflation and adequate tread. Bald tires are very hazardous on icy, snowy roads. Make sure to never let your gas tank get below half a tank. Do not warm up your car in an enclosed space as this could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

While warming up your vehicle, make sure that your windows are fully defrosted using your vehicle’s defrost functions. Do not throw hot water on your vehicle’s windows in an attempt to accelerate the defrost; this may cause your windshield to crack. Wiper blades should be replaced as needed and keep the windshield wiper reservoir filled.

Go through the following checklist to ensure everything is working as it should for the safety of you and your passengers.

  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Cooling system
  • Windshield wipers (washer reservoir, wipers & defroster)
  • Floor mats
  • Tires

KEEP YOUR VEHICLE STOCKED FOR EMERGENCY SCENARIOS

It is smart to have these items available for winter driving related tasks and emergencies.

-Shovel, broom and ice scraper

-Some sort of abrasive material, such as kitty litter, if your car gets stuck in the snow

-Jumper cable, flash lights, and warning devices (emergency markers, flares, etc)

-Blankets and other warm clothing for protection from the cold.

-Cell phone charger, water, food and required medication

IF YOU HAVE AN ACCIDENT WHILE WINTER DRIVING, OUR AUGUSTA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS ARE HERE TO HELP

Did you suffer serious injuries from a winter motor vehicle accident where you were not at fault? If you or your loved one was involved in a motor vehicle accident of any sort, call our office right away. We are here to help. Your Augusta auto accident attorneys will be with you every step of the way.

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