The winter months are extremely dangerous for drivers. There are an average of 467 fatalities every year just from driving on snowy and icy roads. Even if you have automobile insurance, you can find yourself in a lawsuit if you swerve off the road and damage someone's vehicle or property. Practice these winter driving safety tips before you end up injured or being sued for auto accident damages.
Check your tire pressure regularly
Your tire pressure drops about 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees the that the weather drops. If you haven't checked your tires since the summer, they could be dangerously low. Many people believe that lowering your tire pressure is an effective way to drive on ice, so they don't bother to fill them back up. While having lower pressure will give your tire better contact, it's not a safe strategy.
When your tires are low, the sidewalls of the tires get too hot. This can cause your tires to roll right off the rim while you're driving. That's a dangerous enough problem any other time of year. On the snow, other drivers are much more like to slide into each other when your tires go flying. During the winter, check your tire pressure every couple days to ensure that you have the recommended amount. If you want better contact, the safest thing to do is get better tires.
Don't slam on your brakes
If you're about to hit something, it's natural to slam on your brakes so you can stop as quickly as possible. When the roads are clear and dry, that works pretty well. The rough concrete stops your vehicle from moving quickly. When you are on the slippery road and ice, slamming on your breaks turns your tires into ice skates.
The most effective way to stop quickly is to hit the brakes, let off, hit them again, and keep performing this braking cadence until you stop. It sounds like it will take longer and it's scary when you're close to slamming into someone, but you will stop much faster than if you hit your brakes and hope for the best. When you let off the brakes and hit them again, it allows your tires to gain traction with the road again, thus keeping your tires from becoming skates.
Be prepared for emergencies
Part of driving on snow is making sure that you're prepared if something happens. Not all accidents happen while you're in your vehicle. If you break down, drive off the road, or have any other emergency, you need to keep yourself safe. Here are some items that you should keep in your vehicle during the winter months.
- Tow rope
- Reflective vest
- Snow boots (if you aren't wearing any)
- Spare tire
- Hazard triangle
- Fire extinguisher
- Emergency road flares
Keep your eyes out for black ice
Black ice is one of the most dangerous issues during the winter. This is where a thin sheet of completely transparent ice is covering the road. People often mistake black ice for puddles of melted ice and snow. Some people don't notice it at all. A major problem is that when people come across black ice, they often think the road is clear. This causes them to let their guard down and driver faster and less cautiously. Keep your guard up in bad conditions, even when the road looks clear.
Automobile accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury lawsuits. Drive cautiously during the winter by following these simple safety tips. Keep your tire pressure at a proper level, brake easily while stopping, watch for black ice, and always be prepared for an emergency. If you are in an accident, contact a specialist like Todd East Attorney at Law.