When cold weather hits, drivers need to be prepared to handle seasonal threats on the road. Between furious snowstorms, freezing nights, and high winds, winter weather can be quite dangerous for those venturing outside the comfort of their home. During the winter, cold temperatures often leave ice or snow on the roads, making driving conditions far more treacherous than they are in warmer months. In order to prevent a car accident, make sure you know what to do to keep yourself safe this winter.
This winter, try exercising the following safety tips:
1. Keep Your Visibility Clear
Any time you get behind the wheel, make sure you have complete visibility before you begin driving. If you find ice on your car, use a brush, defroster, or ice scraper to clean your windshield, rear window, and your front windows. Remember, you need to be able to see to your side mirrors as well. Also, make sure all snow is cleared from the roof of your car after a storm. If you begin driving with snow piled on the roof, it could slide forward when you come to a stop, blocking your line of sight. Or, if the snow falls off behind you, it could hit the vehicle following you and obstruct their visibility.
2. Take Care of Your Vehicle
Maintaining your vehicle should always be top on your to-do list when the weather gets cold. Your engine needs more attention in the cold weather, especially if you do not park it in a heated garage. See a mechanic for regular maintenance services, but also check your car yourself on a daily basis as a part of your routine. Quickly check to see that your headlights and windshield wipers work, and look under the hood to evaluate your engine fluids. Simple issues like these can become big problems once you begin driving.
3. Look Out for Roadside Obstructions
When a winter storm hits, high winds, heavy rain, hail, or snow can create roadside obstructions. Trees, branches, mud, and other debris can crowd the roads or knock over signs, traffic lights, and telephone poles, making a hazardous environment for drivers. To avoid these obstacles, stick to the road and do not venture into thick snow. After a substantial storm, you should also check the weather reports to make sure the roads are clear and safe for travel.
4. Keep Your Distance
Tailgating is a common issue, and when the driver in front of you is particularly slow, it can be tempting to follow closely to encourage them to speed up. However, tailgating can incite road rage and, more importantly, it can lead to a major crash. When you follow another vehicle at a close range, you have less time to brake and stop your car in an emergency. Plus, the icy winter climate can make stopping even more difficult, and you may slide into the car in front of you if you trail to closely.
5. Slow Down
Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents, so it’s always a good idea to abide by the speed limit. However, if you are driving through the snow or on icy roads, it’s typically advisable to drive at an even slower speed than the local limit suggests. Plan ahead and allow yourself extra drive time to make up for the slower pace you need to maintain to stay safe.
Although these safety tips can help, accidents do happen regardless of our own safe practices. If you were involved in a winter car crash, make sure you know what to do to protect your rights and seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Contact our Harrisburg car accident lawyers at Metzger Wickersham to discuss your personal injury case.