The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that each year more than 1,300 people die and more than 115,000 people suffer injuries on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement throughout the United States. Winter driving is dangerous, but people still need to drive to go to work, go to the store, and for a variety of other reasons.
If you must go out during inclement weather, it’s crucial that you are prepared in case the worst should happen. Continue reading for Indiana winter driving tips.
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Before You Go
Some of the best winter driving tips do not actually involve driving but preparing for a winter weather drive before you leave your home. You should do the following before you go:
- Wake up early. The worse the weather is outside, the earlier you should wake up to give yourself more time on the road. Rushing during winter weather can lead to dangerous accidents.
- Clean the snow, ice, or frost from your car. Leaving snow, ice, and/or frost on your car reduces your visibility when you are driving during winter weather. Uncleared snow can also impact visibility for other vehicles when it blows off your vehicle. Avoiding accidents requires complete visibility through your windows when driving.
- Let your car warm up. Protect your car’s engine by starting it a few minutes before you leave. New vehicles do not need to idle for 10 or 15 minutes like older vehicles with carburetors. Yet, you want your car to run for a few minutes so your oil heats up and your engine runs smoothly. This can also help you avoid sluggish performance or engine failure while driving during winter weather.
In Your Car
There are a few things you should always have in your vehicle in the event you end up in the ditch during a snowstorm or being involved in a collision on snowy or icy roads. They include:
- Warm gear. If you run off the road in a snowstorm, you might have to wait for help. If you run out of gas, you run out of heat. Keep a blanket, extra gloves, a hat, and anything else you want to keep you warm.
- Hammer. In the event your door or window will not open, you can break your window or windshield with a hammer so you can climb to safety.
- Snow brush and ice scraper. You need to keep your windows clear when you leave work, the store, or wherever you are driving. Also, you might need to clean your windows when help arrives after going off-road.
- Kitty litter. Place some kitty litter behind your tires if you get stuck on the ice or in the snow. The litter gives you traction to stop you from spinning your wheels in place.
Under the Hood
You should take every precaution to keep your car properly maintained for the winter. Breaking down in winter weather is not only dangerous, but it can be deadly. You could freeze while waiting for help, and you also have to worry about other vehicles sliding into you if you are stalled on the side of the road. Stay safe during a winter weather drive by:
- Checking your battery to make sure it’s fully charged.
- Never letting your gas tank fall below half-full
- Checking your antifreeze level
- Checking and changing your oil
On the Road
Once you are behind the wheel, you need to focus on driving to stay safe during winter driving conditions. Specific actions you can take that impact your safety while on the road include:
- Allow extra time and distance to apply brakes before a stop sign or traffic signal so you do not slide into an intersection and get in an accident.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely to avoid rear-end collisions on icy roads when the driver in front of you makes a sudden stop or quick turn.
- Conserve gas by keeping the heat off while your engine is heating up. You might need it if you get stuck in heavy traffic.
- Always check your tire pressure and tread to make sure you optimize your tire performance on winter roads.
The Ken Nunn Law Office Is Here to Help
Even when you prepare, take special precautions, and drive safely in winter weather, you still cannot always escape others on the road who make poor choices behind the wheel. If you’ve suffered injuries in a winter weather car accident caused by a reckless driver, The Ken Nunn Law Office is here to help. For more information about what your case is worth, contact us today for a free case review.