It’s no secret that wintry weather conditions such as snow, sleet, and freezing rain can cause safety issues for drivers. That’s why it’s essential to take proper precautions for yourself, your loved ones, and your vehicle. Adopting a different driving style will also help you avoid tough situations. Here are some useful tips for safely driving during winter months.
Check Your Tires
It’s always a good idea to regularly check your tire treads for wear, regardless of the season. Replace any worn tires immediately. In Texas, all tires on a vehicle must have a tread depth of at least 1/16 of an inch and they must be in safe operating condition. Remember that on wet or snow-covered roads, braking performance will progressively decline with lower tread depths. On wet roads there is an additional increased risk of hydroplaning with fading tread depths.
Checking that you have the correct tire pressure will also improve your car’s handling and fuel efficiency. Proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually listed on a sticker on the inside of your driver’s side door panel.
If you live in an area where it snows frequently, you should consider fitting your vehicle with winter tires or all-season tires. They have a dedicated tread pattern for better traction on snow and ice, and they use a unique rubber compound that stays flexible in cold, wet conditions. Tires certified with a three-peak mountain snowflake symbol on the sidewall are the ones to get.
Before you start your journey, study the route ahead, and allow enough time to reach your destination. Check local weather reports and traffic updates to anticipate any potential disruptions. Plan your route to favor major roads, since they’re much more likely to have been gritted, and cleared of snow.
Clear all snow from your car windows, mirrors, lights and the roof before you go. Driving with snow on your car is dangerous and potentially a violation of the law. Accumulated snow could fall off your vehicle, and obscure the vision of other drivers.
Top up the windshield washer reservoir with antifreeze, so it doesn’t freeze on the glass. It’s illegal to drive without full visibility through all the windows on your car.
Make sure you have a full tank of fuel, so take a detour to the nearest gas station before starting the journey properly.
Keep a pair of sunglasses handy, which can reduce the glare of low winter sun on the snow. And keep your mobile phone fully charged, with the number of a breakdown provider stored so you can immediately call for help.
To prepare for a breakdown on the side of the road, have an emergency kit of food, drinks, a torch, and extra clothing, and keep it in the trunk. It’s also handy to store a high-visibility vest, a warning triangle, and a first aid kit.
When you’re ready to get behind the wheel, be sure to wear dry, comfortable footwear. Try to avoid bringing snow with you into the car; puddles will collect when it melts, and the pedals can get slippery.
Safe Driving Tips
Here are a few tips for safe driving in wintry road conditions:
- Accelerate slowly
- Reduce your speed
- Maintain greater than normal braking distance
- Use low gear when driving downhill
- Slow down when approaching curves in the road
- If the car begins to skid, do not to panic, and steer gently into the spin
- Turn on headlights in snow
When snowy weather arrives, you are primarily responsible for taking proper precautions in the operation of your vehicle. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
If you find yourself in a car accident in wintry weather, and you believe someone else’s negligence contributed to the accident, call the injury attorneys at J. Gonzalez Law Firm at: 1-800-CAR CRASH.Book My FREE Consultation Now