Walking in a winter wonderland is the stuff holiday songs are made of, but driving in the snow? Not so much. Winter weather conditions are dangerous for drivers, and if you don’t know how to handle them, you could cause a car accident.
At the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli, we’ve gathered some of the best winter driving tips from around the web and shared them below:
Tip 1: Stay Home
You cannot cause an accident if you are not on the road, so if the weather outside is frightful, and you don’t have anywhere you absolutely need to be, just stay home.
Cozy up with some hot chocolate and enjoy the snow day – it’s the safest thing you could possibly do.
Tip 2: Plan Ahead
If you do need to drive, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Make sure your gas tank is close to full and keep a snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper in your car. You may also want to keep sand or cat litter in your trunk in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, along with extra blankets and other emergency items (jumper cables, a flashlight, etc.).
Map your route ahead of time and avoid traffic jams and roads with especially bad conditions. Let others know your route and estimated arrival time. They’ll understand if there are any delays.
Tip 2: Drive Slowly
Once you are on the road, drive slowly. You have less traction on snow or ice, so it’s much easier to lose control of your vehicle and much harder to stop. To avoid skids, accelerate and decelerate slowly, too.
Tip 3: Increase Your Following Distance
Leave 5 or 6 seconds of space between you and the car in front of you. This will give you the time you need to stop in snowy or icy conditions. When slowing down, press the heel of your foot to the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, even pressure on the brake pedal.
Tip 4: Keep Moving
Starting and stopping are risky in winter weather conditions, so don’t stop if you can avoid it. Instead, roll along slowly and start slowing down long before stoplights turn red, so you don’t have to come to a full stop at intersections.
Tip 5: Know How to Handle Hills
Driving up and down hills is dangerous when there is snow and ice on the road, so avoid hilly routes whenever possible. If you must drive up a hill, build inertia before you take the hill and keep moving. Don’t apply extra gas and whatever you do, do not stop. Stopping on an icy hill could cause you to slide back down. Keep the momentum you built up before the hill until you reach the top, then reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
Tip 6: Don’t Panic
Driving in snow and ice can be scary, but it is manageable. Still, you could get into an accident – or get stuck or stalled in the wintry weather. If the worst happens, do not panic.
Make sure you, your passengers, and your vehicle are safe and wait for help to arrive. Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself trying to dig out of the snow or see through a blizzard. Turn on the lights in your car and mark your windows with bright colors to tell others you need assistance.
If you get cold, run your engine until you get warm again, then turn it off. Be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning and do not run your engine for long periods of time with the windows up.
A Tip for All Seasons
When you’re on the road, the only person whose behavior you can control is your own. Drive defensively and watch out for drivers who do not know how to handle snow and ice.
If someone slides into you or otherwise causes a collision, and you suffer serious injuries or losses as a result, you can always call our firm. Charles R. Gueli has over 2 decades of legal experience and is available 24/7 to take your call.
Tell us what happened during a free consultation – call us at (516) 628-6402 or contact us online to get started today.