As winter weather approaches, so does the possibility of severe road conditions. Winter storms cause nearly half a million weather accidents each year.
Despite you taking all the necessary steps to prepare for driving in bad weather, winter car crashes may still happen.
If you were injured in a winter snow accident, an experienced car accident attorney can help you recover the compensation you need.
When driving on snowy and icy roadways, it’s essential to know what you can do to avoid weather-related accidents. Putting these tips into practice each winter increases your chances of avoiding snow storm car accidents.
Prepare Your Vehicle
As winter approaches, prepare your vehicle for potentially dangerous weather and avoid snow car accidents. Equip your car with winter tires designed to grip snow and ice for safer handling in harsh conditions.
Ensure your car contains at least a half tank of gas before you depart. As road conditions may change, you may be stuck on roads for longer than anticipated. Running out of gas on a snowy or icy roadway can be a frightening experience.
Check Road and Weather Conditions
It’s important to check road and weather conditions before heading out on highways. If severe weather is forecasted, it may be worth considering postponing your trip until the weather clears. If you must drive, research alternative routes. If the main highway is shut down due to weather or an accident, using an alternative may help you avoid getting stuck in bad weather.
Clear Your Vehicle
Before setting out on the road, clear your vehicle of all snow and ice. Clearing your vehicle means pushing all snow that may have collected on your car’s hood, trunk, and roof. Additionally, check that your tailpipe is free of snow. Covering your tailpipe can lead to carbon monoxide buildup in your vehicle. Clearing your car prevents potential hazards on the roadways. If a large piece of snow or ice falls off your car while driving, it causes dangerous conditions for the drivers around you.
With snow and ice on roadways, there is less traction for your tires to grip. Even with snow tires, you must always drive slowly to allow more time to brake. Accelerate and decelerate slowly to regain traction and avoid a skid. It takes much longer to slow down on an icy roadway.
Keep a Safe Distance
Avoid ice crashes by allowing plenty of time to come to a stop and avoid rear-ending other cars. The general rule is to allow five to six seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. However, some harsher conditions may require more time. The best way to determine this space is to fix your eyes on a stationary object on the roadside. When the car in front of you passes that object, allow six seconds to pass before you pass the same object.
How to Recover from a Skid
Avoid abrupt movements on the road to prevent losing control of your vehicle. Actions that can prevent you from losing control include not pressing hard on the gas or brake and not turning too quickly.
If you do find yourself skidding, do not try to correct yourself. Slamming on the brakes or quickly turning the steering wheel may cause an accident.
Find out whether your car has anti-lock brakes or regular brakes. Anti-lock brakes support your standard brakes by automatically pumping them. In snow, you should slowly come to a stop by softly depressing the brakes. Without anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes to avoid skidding on ice and snow. No matter what your type of brakes, slamming on the brakes can cause skidding that may result in a winter car crash.
Keep your attention focused on the road and the surrounding conditions—close attention aids in preventing accidents. Avoid looking at your phone, fiddling with the radio, or looking for items in your car while driving. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a second, could result in a severe accident. Changing road conditions happen in the blink of an eye, and you must always keep your focus on the road ahead.
Use Your Signals
When driving in snow and icy conditions, always turn on your headlights—even in the daylight. When changing lanes or exiting the roadway, use your signals to notify the drivers around you of your plans. Giving notice reduces the possibility of a car behind you rear-ending you and causing an accident.
Do Not Engage Cruise Control
Engaging cruise control takes away your ability to react quickly in severe weather conditions. When driving on snow and ice, cruise control causes your car to maintain speed, which can cause a serious accident. It’s essential to be able to slow down when necessary. Engaging cruise control increases the possibility of weather-related accidents.
Keep an Emergency Kit
Keep a safety kit in your vehicle. A safety kit should contain the following items:
- Battery cables,
- Phone chargers,
- Bottled water,
- Non-perishable snacks,
- First-aid kit,
- Tire patch kit,
- Ice scraper, and
If you become stranded in your car in severe weather conditions, these items can help maintain your safety. Additionally, tying a brightly-colored cloth or bandana to your antenna may make your vehicle more identifiable in snow.
For over forty years, Flora Templeton Stuart has been focused on fighting for the rights of all those who are injured while traveling on Kentucky’s roadways.