Surviving Icy Driving Conditions: Winter Driving Safety Tips
Winter is the deadliest driving season across the United States, and here in Louisville. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there are more than five times as many weather-related driving deaths in December, January and February than any other time of year. We had an incredibly mild November and December, but winter is HERE!
Winter can make it difficult to get around in Kentucky, but with these winter driving tips you will have a much better chance of escaping the icy conditions safely!
Winter conditions vary greatly depending on the year, but it’s important to always be prepared for winter weather no matter where you live or travel.
Prepare your vehicle before the first sign of bad weather by checking tire condition and pressure; make sure all fluid levels are topped off (windshield wiper fluid, engine oil, antifreeze/coolant) and that you have a full tank of gas. Consider packing an emergency kit that includes: jumper cables, flares, sand or kitty litter for traction, a flashlight with fresh batteries, first-aid supplies and extra warm clothing.
Winter Driving 101
The following tips are intended to help improve your safety and comfort, but always remember that winter driving conditions can be unpredictable.
Slow down – It’s especially important to reduce your speed during winter months because reduced daylight hours mean lower visibility (especially after snowfall). Foggy conditions and black ice are also common during winter, so take your time and don’t rush.
Increase following distance – It takes longer to stop on slippery roads, so allow plenty of room between you and the car in front of you.
Don’t use cruise control on slippery roads.
If your car starts to skid, take your foot off the gas pedal and steer in the direction you want the car to go. Do not slam on the brakes as this will only make things worse.
Get plenty of rest if you’re going out in bad weather for an extended amount of time. Fatigue makes it difficult to focus and can lead to poor decision-making.
Take your time – Rushing increases the chances of making a mistake.
Avoid distractions – keep both hands on the wheel, don’t text or talk on the phone, and avoid eating or drinking while driving.
If you do get stranded, stay in your car and call for help. Don’t try to walk in icy conditions – you could easily slip and fall.
Don’t crowd the plow – give snowplows plenty of room to work. Don’t tailgate or pass a snowplow.
If your car breaks down on the road, pull over as far off the road as possible and turn on your hazard lights. Stay with your vehicle until help arrives!
Consider investing in a set of winter tires. Winter tires are specifically designed to provide better traction and handling in cold, icy conditions.
Having a set of winter tires can be helpful for those occasional icy patches on the road. Winter tires have tiny slits in the tire tread to bite into snow or ice more easily than regular all-season tires.
Winter driving can be dangerous, but with the right Winter safety tips and awareness of Winter hazards you should stay safe on the road. If you do get injured in a car accident caused by icy conditions or other Winter hazards, contact Hessig & Pohl’s injury lawyers today to discuss your legal options.
Hessig & Pohl has been protecting the rights of Louisville, KY victims for more than 20 years. We are here to help you, no matter how big or small your injury may be. Call us today at 502-777-1111.