Winter Driving Safety Tips

Winter weather presents hazards for drivers in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country. According to the AAA, severe weather is a factor in nearly 500,000 car wrecks and 2,000 road deaths every winter season. It is crucial for motorists to practice safe driving in the winter weather to reduce accidents. Motorists should exercise winter driving safety tips to ensure their safety, and the safety of others on the road.

Avoid Taking Unnecessary Risks

If possible, do not drive in inclement weather. Many accidents happen because of ice-covered roads and poor visibility. Driving in snow, fog, rain, on ice, or at night can be dangerous; drivers should avoid taking unnecessary risks and stay at home during winter storms.

Be Prepared

Accidents happen, especially during the winter months. Drivers may find themselves unexpectedly stranded for a while until help arrives. For this reason, keep some essentials in the car, including food and water, warm clothing, blankets, and an emergency care kit. The AAA also recommends having a safety driving kit; the kit should include the following:

  • Cat litter or salt
  • Flares
  • Flashlights
  • Ice scrapers
  • Jumper cables
  • Snow shovels and brushes
  • Towels
  • Traction mats
  • Window-washing solvents

Service Your Car

Wet, cold, and icy weather affects a vehicle’s operating efficiency, so winter drivers should service their cars and conduct any necessary repairs or replacements before traveling. In addition to inspecting the tires and filling the gas tank, the AAA suggests checking the following items:

  • Battery
  • Brake system
  • Exhaust system
  • Glass and vehicle exterior
  • Heating and cooling system
  • Ignition system
  • Lights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Windshield washer fluid

Slow Down

It can take longer to brake when roads are slippery. Winter drivers should drive slowly and increase the following distance between their car and the preceding vehicles. The AAA recommends increasing the following distance to eight to ten seconds.

Plan Your Route

Check the weather along your route prior to leaving the house, if the road seems unsafe, consider taking an alternate route or avoid traveling. Do not wait until the last minute to plan your trip; enter your destination into the navigation device prior to getting on the road and inform someone of your estimated time of arrival.

Stay Alert

Car wrecks occur more frequently in the winter, so be wary of accidents, work zones, and detours. Alcohol reduces alertness and can lead to catastrophic car accidents, all drivers should never drive drunk. Also, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep; distracted driving kills approximately nine people every day, according to the CDC.

Be Cautious Around Snowplows

Use caution when driving around snowplows and other heavy machinery. The District Snow Team recommends staying at least 50 feet behind a vehicle that is spreading salt or ice-melt, this will prevent your vehicle from being pelted with materials. Also be aware of blind spots, snowplow drivers have a restricted field of vision and may not be able to see you passing.

Washington, D.C. Car Wreck Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Represent Victims Injured in Car Accidents

If you were injured in a car accident due to a driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to collect damages. Winter weather presents serious hazards and drivers should take extra precautions. Our skilled Washington, D.C. car wreck lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King will fight to protect your rights and help you obtain compensation. Contact us online or call us at 202-331-1963 for a free consultation about your case. Located in Washington, D.C., we serve clients throughout Maryland.