How to Avoid a Car Accident During Winter Weather
This is a guest blog post from Richard P. Console Jr., a New Jersey and Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer.
Winter weather is at best inconvenient and at worse life-threatening. Winter does not only mean having to warm up your car before driving. Motorists need to take the proper precautions when driving in winter weather, and they need to make sure their car is ready for the winter roads.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that you are 36 percent more likely to be in a car accident in January than in July.
- Make sure your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster and exhaust system are in good condition. Winter weather puts added stress on these parts.
- Check that antifreeze levels are sufficient. Antifreeze a chemical that combines with water to make the freezing point much lower. If the water in engine and radiator were to freeze, the ice would expand and damage the engine.
- Tires, tires, TIRES! A bald tire is a recipe for disaster in winter conditions. Check that you have the correct air levels. If you have “all-weather tires,” be sure that there is still the appropriate amount of tread on them. Don’t assume they are fine just because they are “all-weather.”
- Put a winter weather kit in your car. Include a window scraper, gloves, broom to brush snow off your car, shovel to dig your car out of snow banks or drifts, sand to give spinning tires more traction (kitty litter works too), a blanket, flashlight and some food. This may seem extreme, but you will appreciate the preparedness if you are are stuck on a snow-covered road at night.
- Don’t drive around with limited gas. If there are road closings you could end up on a route much longer than anticipated. The last thing you need is to run out of fuel on an unfamiliar road…in the snow.
- Do not rush during bad winter weather. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time by leaving earlier than you would in good weather.
- Be aware. With slippery conditions there is a much higher chance of accidents. Be a defensive driver and know your surroundings. Don’t text or use your cell phone while you are driving.
- Know when to stay home. During severe winter weather, stay off the roads. Listen to weather reports and stay inside if there is a state of emergency. If driving is not an absolute necessity then don’t drive in a blizzard.
Accidents happen, but some added care and attention while driving can go a long way.
For more tips see Be Careful Driving – and Parking – This Winter! If you are involved in a car crash, read What to Do after an Automobile Accident. Watch this video clip for guidance on what to do at an accident scene
Richard Console is founder and managing partner of Console & Hollawell P.C. in Marlton, New Jersey.
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