Winter isn’t coming; it’s here. With the beauty of winter’s illustrious landscape and sparkling beauty, however, come significant driving challenges. Winter has a way of coaxing us into staying inside in front of the TV with a big mug of hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows, but eventually, we all have to get back behind the wheel of our cars and brave the winter driving conditions. Fortunately, there are safety tips that can help make that easier.
Just like any good scout, you should always be prepared for winter driving. This includes keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in your car throughout the winter months. Don’t forget to include winter necessities such as a snow shovel, an icepick, a window scraper, a basic toolkit, a bag of sand or other material that can help provide traction for your tires, a flashlight with additional batteries, and cold-weather gear to help keep you warm in an emergency (these items should include plenty of warm outerwear and thermal blankets). Additionally, stock your kit with booster cables, warning flares, reflective triangles, first-aid essentials, nonperishable foods, and bottles of water (with a means for thawing the water if it becomes frozen). There are a variety of preassembled winter-safety kits on the market.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you know how traumatic that is. The dedicated legal professionals at The Levin Firm are here to help. Our experienced car accident attorneys have the skill, commitment, and knowledge to help guide your claim toward its best possible resolution.
Keep Your Tires in Good Repair
Your tires are your point of connection with the road upon which you travel and, as such, are critical to your safety. Winter driving conditions make your tires even more elemental to safe driving, so make sure that yours are in optimal condition before taking to the open road in the winter. Check the pressure in your tires regularly, as underinflated tires can reduce your traction with the road and can cause them to wear out more quickly. Remember that as the temperature drops the pressure in your tires will decrease as well. Further, be vigilant in your efforts to monitor the roadworthiness of your tires by frequently checking their tread. In especially harsh winters, snow tires are a good option to consider.
If you find your vehicle skidding in slick winter driving conditions, it’s imperative that you remain calm—which is easy to say and more difficult to accomplish. It can help to remind yourself that— if your car does go into a skid—you should let up on the gas, leave the brakes alone, and steer in the direction that you need the front of your car to move in. Don’t hit your brakes or your gas pedal until you’ve regained control of your vehicle.
When you find yourself driving on slippery roads, allow for increased stopping distances to provide yourself with additional time to deal with hazards as they come at you. Implementing smooth, gentle accelerating and braking to help maintain consistent traction with the road also helps. If your vehicle does begin to slip, release the gas pedal until you’ve regained traction.
Who’s in Charge?
When winter weather bears down on you with frigid temperatures, it’s critical to the safety of everyone in your car that your vehicle has a strong, fully charged battery. Extremes in temperature can have a negative effect on your car’s battery power, so if your battery is getting up in years, consider replacing it with a new battery before you get into a dead-battery jam. Additionally, pay attention to your battery’s connections and keep them tight, clean, and corrosion free to help ensure that your car starts with the first turn of your key (or keyless entry connection).
When you think about winter driving, you likely focus on low temperatures and slippery driving conditions, but it’s also important to take winter winds into careful consideration—especially since they often accompany ice and snow. When winter winds pick up, keep both your hands firmly on your steering wheel and slowly and steadily decrease your vehicle’s speed. Additionally, make sure that you allow plenty of room between your car and the vehicle that’s ahead of you (this is especially true when that vehicle is large or otherwise cumbersome, such as a semi-truck or bus). Stay alert to objects that may blow across the roadway, and if the conditions become too treacherous, pull off the road as safely as you can manage.
Consider New Safety Technologies
If you’re in the market for a new car, or are considering the possibility, keep improved safety technologies in mind. Nearly every car company currently offers electronic traction and stability control systems in their vehicles. These safety mechanisms work in tandem with the vehicles’ antilock braking systems to help you maintain traction on slippery roadways. These systems are designed to help you maintain control of your vehicle when you take curves and turns— especially in wet, icy, or otherwise slippery conditions— by recognizing when your car begins to slide and by then reducing the throttle and applying the brakes to those individual wheels that can help correct your car’s orientation. These traction systems can also help reduce the chance that your car’s drive wheels will spin when you accelerate on a slippery surface.
If you’re considering upgrading, there are enhanced safety options out there that can help keep you and your loved ones safer when traveling under wintery conditions.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Winter-weather Car Accident, Consult With an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
Winter driving is often treacherous, but if you’ve been injured in a winter-weather car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you need experienced legal counsel. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our skilled car accident attorneys have the experience and dedication to effectively and efficiently fight for your claim’s most just resolution. Our knowledgeable legal team is here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.