When driving in winter weather, SLOW DOWN. It is harder to control or stop your vehicle on icy, wet or snow-covered surfaces.
Increase your following distance so that you have plenty of time to stop for the vehicles ahead of you in wet, icy or snow-covered conditions.
Remember that snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes and exit the road frequently. Do not travel beside the snow plow or crowd them. If you end up behind a snow plow, stay far enough behind it and use caution if you decide to pass the plow.
Below are items to keep in mind before/when winter weather strikes:
- When the temperature outside drops, so does tire pressure. Make sure that each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended inflation pressure. You can find the recommended inflation pressure by looking at your owner's manual and on a label located on the driver's side door frame;
- Check each tire's age. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing tires every six years regardless of use;
- Check for any damage or conditions that may need attention;
- Check the tread and sidewalls for any cuts, punctures, bulges, scrapes, cracks or bumps;
- Check your spare tire;
- If you find any tire damage take your vehicle to a tire service professional;
- Consider installing snow tires.
- It is important to know that heavy coats can interfere with the proper harness fit on a child in a car seat. When your child will be secured in a car seat, pick thin, warm layers and place blankets or coats around your child after the harness is snug and secure for extra warmth (See above picture from the NHTSA for reference);
- Make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed and that the right seat for the child's age and size chosen. See our previous blogs on car seats for more information.
- In cold weather, gasoline and diesel engines take more battery power to start;
- Electric and hybrid-electric vehicles' driving range can be reduced in cold weather;
- Have a mechanic check your battery, charging system, belts and for any other needed repairs or replacements that may be needed before winter weather hits.
Prepare your vehicle before you head out:
- Lights- check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and interior lights;
- Windshield Wipers- Be sure that your vehicle's reservoir is filled with "winter" fluid with de-icer before the winter weather hits. Make sure that the defrosters and all windshield wipers work and replace any worn blades;
- Cooling System- Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle. Check the cooling system for leaks, test the coolant and drain or replace the old coolant.
Before you drive in winter weather stock your vehicle with:
- a snow shovel, broom and ice scraper;
- sand or kitty litter in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow;
- jumper cables, flashlight and warning devices (flares and emergency markers);
- blankets to stay warm;
- a cell phone and charger;
- warm winter coat and tall winter boots;
- water, food and any necessary medicine.
Plan your travel during daylight, if possible, during the winter months.
Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive.
Before leaving check the weather reports for all areas you will be driving through.
If you are in an automobile collision during winter weather report it by calling your local law enforcement office or 911, even if the local police department is on Accident Alert. If immediate medical assistance is not needed exchange information with the other driver, call a tow truck or someone to pick you up if the vehicle is not drivable. If the vehicle is not drivable and you are waiting for someone, stay inside your vehicle and stay warm. Once it is safe and possible to do so, seek medical attention. After you have sought out medical care, make a claim with your insurance company and the other vehicle involved's insurance company and then call an attorney.
An attorney can ensure that the value of your case is maximized. They can also provide you legal guidance on compensation for your damages.
Contact Travis Legal Offices, LLC today if you have been involved in an automobile collision. Consultations are FREE and we would be happy to talk to you about your claim.