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WINTER DRIVING AND ACCIDENTS

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Driving can already be a stressful activity, but when you add in winter weather it can certainly raise one’s anxiety level.  You can take steps to make your time behind the wheel less worrisome and safer by avoiding these winter driving mistakes.

#1:  UNPREPARED

While not just a winter concern, always be prepared.   Regardless of the weather, always keep an emergency kit in your car.  Your kit should contain a snow brush, gloves, heavy blankets, first aid kit, road flares, rope/chain, jumper cables, rock salt, cell phone charger, small tool kit and water/snacks.  Besides the emergency kit, before you venture out check the weather and make sure you have at least a half tank of gas   

#2: SNOW & ICE REMOVAL

Driving with any snow or ice on your car is not only dangerous, but illegal in some cases. Flying snow or ice from your vehicle can causes a car accident, property damage or other injuries.  Avoid a potential catastrophe and clear snow and ice before you drive.  

#3: DRIVING TOO FAST

Speed limits are set for ideal driving conditions only.   In wet, snowy or icy conditions, you need to adjust your speed and drive slower for everyone’s safety.  Driving slowly gives you more time to react if the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly or if you hit a patch of ice.

#4: DRIVING TOO CLOSE TO SNOWPLOWS

While they may be going slower than you like, be patient and stay behind the plow at a safe distance. The road ahead is likely covered in snow and ice.  Passing and getting in front of a snow plow during severe weather may lead to an accident that could have been avoided.  Remember the following:

  • Stay at least six car lengths behind an operating snowplow.
  • Turn on your headlights so the snowplow operator can better see you.
  • Move as far away from the center line as possible when approaching a snowplow head-on.
  • Never pass several trucks plowing side-by-side in a “plow train.”
  • Don’t drive directly next to a snowplow. They have blindspots and can quickly move sideways if they hit a heavy snowpack.

#5: TAILGATING

Following too close to the car in front of you is never a good idea, but it’s even worse when roads are slippery.  Give yourself plenty of room and time to stop so you don’t rear-end the vehicle in front of you. In winter weather, increase the distance between you and the car your behind from two seconds to eight seconds . An eight-second following distance means your car should pass an object (like a road sign) eight seconds after the car in front of you passes it.

#6: PANICKING WHEN YOUR CAR STARTS TO SKID

When you find yourself skidding on a wet or icy surface, your immediate instinct is to brake, but that will likely make matters worse. If you start to skid, take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want to go.  Your tires will likely regain traction and allow you to resume control of the vehicle.

#7: STRESSED DRIVING

Being stressed, whether over driving conditions or other matters, can lead to accidents when you’re behind the wheel.  Focus on the road and driving when you get behind the wheel.  Also remember that, just because you have four-wheel drive, you’re invincible in winter weather.   Four wheels can slide the same as two.   

Avoiding winter driving mistakes can reduce your chances of causing a crash. But you don’t have control over every factor on the road. Accidents will happen and you need someone in your corner that will help you and your loved ones get the compensation and justice they deserve. For over 40 years, we have helped thousands of accident victims win millions of dollars in compensation.

For a free consultation and review of your matter, call our offices today at 414 276 1233!