4 Things To Be Cautious Of When Driving In Snow
Each year in the United States, thousands of people are injured in accidents that occur due to snowy conditions. To avoid crashes during the winter, there are several crucial tips to follow including properly preparing your car for the change in weather by installing snow tires on your vehicle.
In addition to ensuring your vehicle is equipped with suitable tires, double check that your wipers work, that your antifreeze is at an appropriate level, and that both your front and rear defrosters run smoothly. Read on for 4 more tips to stay safe when driving in wintery conditions.
1. Following too Closely
Following the vehicle ahead of you too closely is always dangerous, but especially in winter when conditions can make it even more difficult to stop suddenly. Slick roads require extra distance between cars to prevent accidents. Try to remain several vehicle lengths behind other cars and if a vehicle is following you too closely, consider pulling over if conditions allow or letting them pass.
2. Dangerous Temperatures
Be especially cautious when the temperature is near freezing as this can cause precipitation to turn to ice. On a sunny day, the sun can cause a glare on the ice – this condition is known as black ice or glare ice – making it look wet and harmless when in reality it is one of the most dangerous road conditions to encounter.
In addition to rain turning to ice, warmer conditions can also cause snow to become melted and packed down. This flattened snow can become extremely slippery and hazardous. If possible, avoid driving when the temperature is hovering around the freezing mark. If you must drive on glare ice or slippery, packed snow, go as slow as possible and be aware of surrounding vehicles.
3. Minor Snowstorms or the First Snowfall of the Year
Surprisingly, snowstorms that only result in an inch or two or snow can be as dangerous as can the first snowfall of the year. Drivers may fail to take extra precaution during a minor snowstorm even though a small amount of snow is still capable of degrading the road conditions and causing slick areas. Many drivers may underestimate the potentially slippery conditions and end up causing accidents.
The first snowfall of the year is notorious for resulting in record numbers of accidents. Many people do not have their vehicles properly prepared and have lost their skills for safe winter driving. It takes time for the brain to adjust to new driving conditions so the first snowfall means a large number of people are going faster than they should and failing to give themselves additional time to brake.
4. Unplowed or Unsalted Roads
Often, a large or sudden storm may cause road equipment to lag behind on plowing and salting. Prior to salting and plowing, the safety of the road is highly compromised. If possible, wait until plow trucks have been able to make a pass or two on the roads.
All in all, although winter brings more treacherous driving conditions, it is still possible to reduce your likelihood of being involved in an accident. Consider following the tips above to help keep you safe during the snow season.
Bart Costello is the founder of Injury Law. Bart is passionate about helping people. He has built a strong reputation over the last thirty years as one of the premier Boulder personal injury attorneys.