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Safe Driving in Winter Weather

Safe Driving in Winter Weather

Winter is now in full swing here in the Midwest. We are seeing major winter snowstorms that are covering the Midwest, causing hazardous driving conditions for drivers across the region. The snow, ice, and fog are creating dangerous driving conditions resulting in crashes and interstate congestion on I-72, I-74, and I-57. As winter continues, all drivers on the road should be aware of safety rules in regards to winter weather conditions. To better prepare yourself for possible upcoming winter storms, check out the following winter driving rules.

Make sure your vehicle is prepared: Before getting on the road, make sure that your vehicle is prepared for the weather. Have your vehicle checked for necessary parts, repairs, and replacements. Make sure the battery is up to the challenge that winter conditions bring, as it takes more battery power to start your vehicle in winter conditions. Inspect your tires before long trips and make sure each tire is filled to the recommended inflation pressure. Finally, make sure your vehicle is stocked with warm blankets, phone chargers, and food in case of emergency and always keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid the gas line freezing up.

Pullover or stay home: It is always best if you can avoid going out and driving in dangerous conditions like snow and ice. If you are able to, stay home until the driving conditions are safer. If you must be out on the roads,  make sure to keep yourself updated on weather and road conditions before leaving so you can know what to expect. If you are already out driving and you yourself in dangerous conditions that you are not comfortable driving in, pull over until you feel safe to drive again. This is when your emergency stock will come in handy.

Give yourself enough time to go slow: Driving slow in winter conditions may seem like a no-brainer, however, many people are in such a rush to get to their destination and eager to get off the roads that they forget the importance of driving slow. Accelerating, stopping, and turning are less predictable on snow-covered roads, and snow and ice reduce the amount of traction your tires are able to get. Be sure to always accelerate slowly to maintain traction and leave yourself a significant amount of space between other cars and when stopping at traffic lights. Be patient and allow yourself more time to get to your destination in order to get there safely.

Never use cruise control: Most drivers are used to regularly using cruise control and feel it can help them maintain a lower speed, however, it should be avoided while driving in winter road conditions. If your vehicle skids or hydroplanes, the cruise control will accelerate due to the vehicle trying to keep a constant speed, causing you to lose control of your vehicle much easier.

Increase stopping distance-time: While driving on dry pavement, the recommended following distance is three to four seconds. When driving in winter conditions, that time should be increased to eight to ten seconds. Your breaks are weaker in these conditions, and allowing your vehicle more time to stop will help you to avoid a possible collision with another driver.

Due to busy schedules and time commitments, many drivers ignore the following rules when driving in winter weather conditions. This not only puts them in danger but also other passengers in the vehicle and other drivers on the road. No matter how experienced a driver is, we are not invincible to the hazards that these conditions present, and we must take our time and be cautious to ensure everyone’s safety on the road. In the case of driving in snow and ice, slow and steady will always win the race.

Unfortunately, we cannot control the actions of other drivers on the road. No matter how many precautions you take, you may still find yourself involved in an accident due to the actions of others on the road. If you find yourself involved in a winter weather-related accident, there are a few things you should do to make sure you protect yourself. Immediately after a collision, you should make sure that you are physically fine and make sure to seek medical attention if needed. If you do not need to immediately need to seek medical attention, you should pull over to a safe area where you can call the police to report the collision and take pictures of the damage. After an accident, it is common for the insurance to reach out but it is in your best interest to discuss the details of the incident with an attorney before making a recorded statement.

The experienced car accident attorneys at Spiros Law P.C. are well versed in these situations and they will work diligently to get you the compensation that you deserve, make sure medical bills are being taken care of, and handle correspondence with insurance companies to help make sure you receive what you are entitled to. To speak to an attorney about your unique situation, contact us at (815) 929-9292 or through our live chat feature. The initial consultation to explain your situation with an attorney is always free and our clients pay nothing out of pocket as all injury matters are worked on under a contingency basis where nothing is paid unless we are able to recover on behalf of our clients.