Driving in the winter can be a little intimidating for some, especially if it’s not a consistent weather pattern that your area is used to. Just a few short weeks ago, the Northwest was still in the thick of a summer haze, and now we are anticipating another kind of haze–Snow. Mountain areas are already donning their winter coat of white, while the lowlands are warned that winter is coming early for parts of the region.
Preparation is KEY to Car Accident Prevention During Winter
Don’t let the weather catch you unaware! A drop in temperatures can turn a familiar rain shower into dangerous sleet and ice. Driving into higher elevations or near mountain passes can mean snow or slush on the roads for miles. Here are a few tips for a visit from Old Man Winter to help you prevent a car accident.
Prepare Your Vehicle With These 6 Tips.
- Snow or studded tires are legal on all passenger vehicles. In Washington, they are only legal between November 1 and March 31. Learn more about WSDOT’s Studded Tire Information.
- Make sure that your tires pressure is filled to the specifications noted in the owner’s manual.
- Consider using a wiper fluid that is rated for lower temperatures and keep it topped off during the winter.
- Make sure that you have good windshield wipers. Sand and road debris will dull them and make driving difficult if they aren’t clearing the rain or snow from the driver’s line of vision.
- Consider adding sandbags to the trunk of your car for added weight and traction.
- Make a Winter Driving Survival Kit for the trunk of your car—include an ice scraper, a small snow shovel, sand or salt.
- Remove any snow or ice on your vehicle before driving. Snow on top of cars will melt and could possibly fall into the driver’s line of vision, making the wipers unusable.
Go through a Winter Driving Supply Checklist, like the one provided here by the WSDOT:
Watch the Weather Forecasts
- Awareness of changes in the weather is key to a safe commute. Sign up for a local weather app or check out this website for more information: https://www.travelers.com/resources/weather/alerts.aspx
Driving for the Conditions Can Prevent a Car Accident
- Remember speed limits are for dry conditions. Poor weather requires that everyone on the road should slow down. Give yourself some space, in case there’s ice or unseen hazards ahead.
- Anticipate that normal acceleration and braking takes for time on snow and ice. Leave some distance between your vehicle and others around you, in the event your need to slow down or stop.
- Use caution near snow banks and areas that have limited vision due the terrain. Snow accumulation can narrow roadways, reducing capacity for vehicles and passing.
- Allow extra time to your trip to ensure safe travels. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/weather_events/snow_ice.htm
What to Do if You Find Yourself Broken Down or Stuck in the Snow?
- If you find yourself on the side of the road due to poor driving conditions, stay inside your vehicle and wait for help. The safest place to stay out of harm’s way is inside your car.
- Turn your hazard lights on.
- Make sure that your exhaust pipe is free of blocking snow, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Read more winter driving safety tips.
Our Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
We all drive through life, even when the weather is a cold blur. With a little preparation and information ahead of time, we can still get where we need to go. Share these tips and checklists with others, to ensure a calm and safe commute.
If you or someone you know has been injured or hurt in a winter driving accident, contact Fielding Law Group today, for a free legal consultation. When it can be shown that another motorist acted negligently, violated a traffic law, or failed in any way to drive safely, we can help you recover and receive the compensation you deserve. Remember–Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!
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