Winter is now upon us and with winter weather comes an increased risk of automobile collisions. Snow, slush, ice and fog all make it harder to see, slow down and stop. While we cannot completely safeguard ourselves from weather related accidents, here are some preventative measures which will help reduce the risk or protect you in the event of an emergency:
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. This kit should include at a minimum sand/salt/cat litter, extra windshield fluid, jumper cables, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a flashlight, a brightly colored scarf or other small cloth, blankets, gloves, hats, non-perishable food, water bottles, essential medicines, a cell phone charger or charged battery pack, and a first aid kit.
- Make sure that your vehicle is in safe, operable condition before driving in winter weather. Keep your tires properly inflated, make sure that your windshield fluid reservoir is filled, and that you have at least half a tank of gasoline and a fully charged cell phone.
- Before driving, make sure that you clear any snow and ice from your front and back windshields, side windows, roof, hood, trunk, mirrors, and all lights and reflectors.
- Reduce your speed if there is any inclement weather or difficult road conditions. Increase your following distance from the usual 3-4 seconds to 8-10 seconds.
- Do not use cruise control while driving on any wet, icy, or otherwise slippery surface.
- On slippery surfaces, do not increase your speed while going up-hill. (This can cause your wheels to start spinning.) Once you crest the hill, go downhill slowly.
- Avoid all unnecessary distractions (cell phone use, eating, etc.) and give your full attention to driving.
- If you start to skid, look and steer where you want to go. Do not accelerate or brake until you have your vehicle under control again.
- Know your brakes. If you have anti-lock brakes, use firm, even pressure to brake on slippery roads. (You may feel your brake pedal vibrate.) If you do not have anti-lock brakes gently pump your brakes to slow down.
- If you do become snow bound, tie a brightly colored scarf or cloth around your antenna or put it out the top of a rolled-up window. Stay with your car. Make sure the exhaust pipe is completely clear from any snow, mud, etc. if you plan to start the engine to break the chill in the vehicle.
Stay safe as you drive this winter, but if you do have a collision for which you were not at fault, contact Altizer Law, P.C. We are here to help you.