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10 Safety Tips to Avoid Bad Car Accidents in Winter

Are you ready to drive this winter? Winter brings numerous ice and snow covered roads. This can make traveling a hazardous task for even the most experienced drivers.

In fact, there are more than 116,000 injuries and over 1,300 deaths on snowy, icy, or slushy pavement every winter. Don’t become another statistic. You should always check road conditions before driving in the winter.

It’s best to stay off the roads if you see a snowstorm in the forecast. But sometimes you have to hit the open road. With some simple preparation, however, you can protect yourself from an auto accident this winter.

During winter, snow and ice create risky conditions and the number of bad car accidents increase. Here are safety tips to keep you and your passengers safe.

Avoid a Car Accident

The best way to avoid a car accident is not to venture out on icy roads altogether. Put off errands that can wait for another day. Work from home if you have the option available.

Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is one of the best was to prevent bad car accidents. Winter accidents are often the result of car problems. Cars can be especially vulnerable to winter conditions if they are behind on maintenance.

You should take your car to a mechanic before any significant winter travel. You want to make sure that your windshield wipers are working correctly in case you get caught in an unexpected snowstorm. Being able to see well is imperative in snowy driving conditions.

There are even specific winter wiper blades available. Consider purchasing and installing a pair to ensure that you can see well. Check your wiper fluid as well. You need to be able to clean dirty slush off your windshield as needed.

Also, be sure to clean off your car every time before you begin to drive. We’ve all seen those folks that only clear a little hole on the windshield right in front of the driver. This is dangerous and foolhardy.

Take that extra few minutes to clean off your entire windshield and all your windows. You also want to check your defroster and heater to make sure they are functioning properly. You might have to pay upfront costs but it’s a small price to pay for safety.

Check Your Tires

All maintenance is important. However, some maintenance is more important than others in the winter. You need to have the right tires for winter conditions. Your tires should have proper air pressure and also be rated for mud and snow.

You can also replace your tires with snow tires to keep yourself safe. You should have tire tread for winter driving. Manufacturers build these heavier treads for a stronger grip.

Also, make sure that your brakes are working well. If you don’t have antilock brakes, know that you will have to pump your brakes to avoid a skid. Most newer cars have anti-lock brakes, but know what yours have.

Be Prepared to Skid

Many bad car accidents stem from skids. Skids occur when your car slides without rotating. You can avoid a skid by slowing down on icy roads. Some skids are unavoidable though. Make sure to keep both hands on the wheel and focus on where you want your car to go.

You should then steer into the skid, or steer in the same direction that the car is heading. If the skid is a front-wheel skid, you should straighten out the steering wheel instead.

You should also be careful to avoid slamming on your brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator until you regain control of the car. If you don’t oversteer one way or the other or slam on your brakes you may come out of the skid unscathed.

Maximize Visibility

One of the hardest parts about driving through the snow is the lack of visibility. While you can’t control the snowfall, you can control some of your visibility. You should take extra time to clear off snow from your windshield before driving.

You should also scrape off ice and snow from any windows. You should give yourself time to defrost your windows before driving. Driving with an obstructed view is dangerous and in many cases illegal. Only drive when you know you can see the road.

Proceed with Caution

Driving too fast is a surefire way to get in bad car accidents. You should be careful not to exceed 45 mph during a snowstorm. This applies to roads that have higher speed limits. Practice defensive driving and keep your speed down to maintain control of your vehicle.

It’s important that you drive slowly because tires lose their grip in ice and snow. This can affect everything from your braking to your turning. Hazardous weather conditions contribute to about 22% of all car accidents.

Do your part to avoid these accidents by driving to better match conditions.

Research Your Car

Winter is a popular time to travel. Many drivers end up using rental cars or drive in unfamiliar terrain. You should always research your car before setting out for a winter trip. Many cars have snow-friendly features that will help on the road.

Check your car’s manual to see what sort of capabilities your car has. You can look for things like a “snow” button that will put your car into a snow-friendly gear.

Prepare for the Worst

Winter conditions don’t just affect drivers in the Northeast or Midwest. Many winter car accidents occur in southern states where drivers are less prepared for icy conditions. You should prepare for winter conditions even in areas with infrequent snow.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution. Make sure you take proper precautions before setting out on a road trip. You never know when an unexpected snow storm could hit.

Avoid Cruise Control

Cruise control is a beloved feature for many roadtrippers. It can make driving easier during tedious multi-day drives. However, using cruise control in the winter can lead to bad car accidents. You should avoid using cruise control when in winter conditions.

Cruise control can be dangerous because it limits your control of your car. It can be especially dangerous if your car falls into a skid. Your car will try to maintain its speed which can lead to a high-impact collision.

Leave the cruise control feature for the summer if you want to avoid a crash.

Don’t Tailgate

It’s easy to collide with other cars during a snowstorm. One way to avoid collisions is to leave adequate room for you and other vehicles. Give yourself plenty of room between your vehicle and others.car accident chicago

That will give you more reaction time in a scary situation. Plus, cars don’t stop on a dime in the snow. You’ll need that extra stopping distance. The general rule of thumb is to abide by the six-second rule.

You should give yourself six seconds before passing the same spot on the road as another vehicle. Winter brings limited visibility and slower reaction times. Tailgating is an added hazard that you can easily avoid.

You can also change lanes if you feel you are being followed too closely. You should also follow post-crash procedure if you happen to get in a collision.

Stay Focused

There are countless distractions for the modern driver. Passengers, music and smartphones are a few examples of driving distractions.

You should stay extra focused on the road if you want to avoid a winter crash. Only drive when you are fully alert and ready for the hazards of the road. Resist the urge to get distracted. It might just save you from a bad accident.

Driver Negligence

Now that you’ve done all you can to avoid a car accident, you should be safe, right? Wrong. You can follow every rule in the book, but that doesn’t mean other drivers will. In winter, victims and perpetrators alike often blame accidents on conditions.

They think the accident was unavoidable and so no one is liable. This isn’t altogether true. Even if both drivers were in compliance with the law at the time the accident occurred one can still be liable.

For example, remember that posted speed limits are for ideal conditions. Snow and ice are not ideal conditions. Drivers should slow down to match whatever the current conditions are. If a driver does not slow down and causes an accident, they can be liable.

Even if they were driving within the posted speed limit. This can get tricky fast because it is so subjective. How can you prove that a driver was negligent by driving too fast for conditions? That’s the magic of a great lawyer.

If a negligent driver has injured you, you need an experienced lawyer to prove your case.

What to Do At the Scene

To prove your case easier in court there is one major thing you can do at the scene. Try to keep calm and remember to do this. It can make a world of difference in making sure you receive compensation for your injuries.

Make a record. The best and simplest way is to pull out your cell phone and start recording. Take photos of the damage to the vehicles and any tracks. If it’s snowing the tracks could disappear long before the police arrive.

Photos are great impartial evidence and you won’t end up with a “he said/she said” situation. If you don’t have your phone, at least write everything down. It isn’t as foolproof, but it’s better than nothing. At the very least, it will help you to remember the details better later on.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Some winter car accidents are unavoidable. If you sustained injuries in a car accident in winter, don’t attribute it to bad weather right off the bat. If the other driver was at fault, you deserve some compensation.

You could be eligible for not only medical bills but also time off work and pain and suffering. We have extensive experience with car accident claims. Let us represent you in court to ensure you receive full compensation.

Don’t delay if you have a bad winter accident.

Contact my law firm for a free case evaluation today. The Law Office of Scott DeSalvo has unique experience with personal injury related to car accidents. Give us a call at 1-877-365-0040 for a free initial consultation!

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I've been helping injured people just like you for my entire 20+ year career in all kinds of injury cases, and I can probably help you, too. You can call me 24/7/365, any time, day or night, to get a free copy of the Injury "Cheat Sheet" which gives you the Five Secrets to winning your injury case. 100% free & no obligation. Or, you can call and ask for a FREE case strategy session where I will answer all of your questions, 100% for free and no obligation. Call 312-500-4500. I look forward to hearing from you!