Anyone who has driven during the winter months knows that it can get pretty hazardous. Even if you are a good driver, you have to worry about the people around you, weather conditions, road conditions, and many other obstacles that can come into your path. When you plan properly and you take caution, you should be fine when you go out – but if something happens and you need support, don’t forget that your safety and the safety of people around you should come before anything else. If you are in an accident, make sure to take care of your medical needs and then connect with an accident attorney in Omaha.
If you do have to drive in winter conditions, there are some things that you need to know about how to stay safe:
Don’t Drive Unless You Absolutely Have To
The best way to stay safe in winter weather is to avoid driving altogether. If it is possible for you to stay home, do so. Your Target run or a trip to the salon can wait until a day when the weather and roads are better. If you absolutely must go out, make sure you give enough time for cleaning crews to take to the roads; you should be able to get updates on your local news station.
Clean Ice And Snow From Your Car
When it is cold outside, there is always a temptation to just get inside our cars and hope that the snow will fall off as soon as we start to drive. However, snow and ice don’t fall off that easily and it can be hazardous to you and other drivers. Ensure that your car is completely cleared of snow and ice before you even leave your driveway.
Make sure that your mirrors, in particular, are cleared of ice and snow so that you don’t have any extra blind spots.
Keep Your Vehicle In Pristine Condition
Ensure that your car is inspected and do maintenance on your own in between inspections to keep your car safe for winter driving. Ensure that your windshield wipers work properly to clean off snow, ice, or rain. Check fluids and top them off, especially if you are going to take longer trips. Also double check and make sure your headlights and taillights work.
The most important part of your car for upkeep? The tires. Make sure that your tires are properly aligned and that you have a lot of tread on your tires or you may slip and slide around the roads.
Keep Your Tank Full
Make sure that you have gas in your tank when you get onto the road. You never know what sort of delays you might encounter during your drive, and you don’t want to run out of gas on the side of the road. Make it a habit to keep your tank at least half full so that you are never caught near empty.
Have An Emergency Kit In Your Car
Being safe can’t always keep you from trouble so you should be prepared. Ensure that your car is outfitted with supplies. These should include:
- A Blanket
- Warm Clothing
- A First Aid Kit
- A Flare or Flashlight
- Jumper Cables
- A Shovel
- Kitty Litter (for traction)
- Emergency Charger
- Trail Mix or Energy Bars
If you take medicine, make sure that you have at least a dose of that in your emergency kit as well.
Listen To The Road As You Drive
When you are driving on snowy and icy roads, you will hear different noises. A snowy road tends to be louder because you are kicking up snow. Icy roads, on the other hand, are quieter. Listening to road sounds can help you to make decisions when driving, so keep your radio down.
Watch Out for Bridges, Overpasses, and Ramps
There are certain features that are going to freeze much more quickly than others. Bridges, ramps, and overpasses tend to freeze first and they will stay frozen longer. When you are on these roads, make sure to drive more carefully.
Be Smooth And Controlled When You Drive
Go back to driver’s ed when you think about how you should drive – put both hands on the wheel, be smooth when you make turns, go under the speed limit, and make all of your movements as fluid as possible. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
If You Slide – Turn Into It
If you do start to skid or slide when you are driving, the most important thing you can do is regain control of your car. To do this, you should let the car naturally decelerate and steer into the direction of the slide.
No matter what you do, make sure to stay calm – or even better, stay home. If you do find yourself in trouble, contact Omaha accident attorney Matthew Miller for legal help – call us at (402) 558-4900.