It’s that time of the year again – get out your winter coats and start bundling up! The snow is here and so are all the hazards that come with it. For both Plymouth natives and incoming residents who are new to the winter elements, the thought of driving on slippery and icy roads can be frightening. Should you happen to get into an auto, truck or motorcycle accident this winter, it is important to call our experienced Plymouth personal injury attorneys to help you with your case. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. But above all else, it is our hope that you’ll work to stay safe when driving this year. Below are some safety tips to consider when venturing out into the snow.
Accelerate/decelerate slowly and try to avoid braking abruptly.
Abrupt movements of any kind cause a quick transference of weight, and can have more damaging effects than slow, easy movements. You can minimize skidding by braking lightly and by using on-and-off motions when coming to a stop. For manual cars, try to avoid abrupt downshifts, as this can cause the wheels to skid. Attempting to power up hills can also have negative effects, because applying extra gas on snow-covered roads may cause your wheels to start spinning. “Slow and easy” is the motto for winter driving.
Make sure you have the correct air pressure in your tires.
Your tires support the weight of your vehicle, right? Well, actually, it’s the air inside them that supports your car while you’re driving. If you see a strange warning light on your dashboard as you start up your engine, it may mean that your tire pressure is too low. The air in your tires expands when heated, and contracts when cooled, meaning during colder weather, it’s common for your tire pressure to decrease, posing a threat to your winter driving. It is critical to check the pressure throughout the cold winter months to maintain strong, healthy tires. When properly inflated, your tires are able to perform at their best, and will provide better handling, dependable traction and a more comfortable ride.
Increase your following distance from the car in front of you.
When driving in inclement weather conditions, such as snow, ice or hail, it’s important to leave a substantial amount of space between you and the car in front of you. A general guideline is to use the six-second rule, meaning that when the car in front of you passes a fixed point in the road, it should take you six seconds before you pass that same point. Yes, this might seem excessive, but it will prevent a potential auto accident if the car in front of you suddenly stops, and it takes you longer than anticipated to slow down. If you are the one who’s being tailgated too closely by the car behind you, change lanes to avoid the potential danger of this driver. During the winter, it’s important to relax your driving, avoid rushing and give others their space.
Avoid using cruise control.
For some, driving with cruise control has become almost second nature, as it can help prevent leg fatigue and can keep you from unwittingly speeding. However, utilizing cruise control in harsh conditions can be unsafe. During the winter months, attempt to make a conscious effort to ensure that you are not using it when driving in snow, ice or hail. If your car skids while cruise control is activated, it may continue to accelerate and rapidly spin the wheels in an attempt to maintain the selected constant speed. This is extremely dangerous and can make it more likely for you to lose control of your car.
Most importantly, limit any kind of distractions while driving.
Cell phones, radio dials and even other passengers in your car can all hinder your attention to the road. When driving in extreme conditions, staying focused and alert at all times is critical, and this attentiveness will allow you to react quickly and efficiently when necessary. It is easy to become distracted by even the slightest of things, and sometimes you aren’t aware of it. Answering a text message or changing the radio station should be the least of your worries when driving in the snow. Remember that your safety and the safety of those around you comes first and foremost.
At Fisher & Associates, we know that regardless of how cautious you are when driving during winter conditions, sometimes accidents are inevitable. If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto, truck or motorcycle accident this season, our dedicated attorneys are here to help. We handle hundreds of cases each winter and will assist you in getting back to health and receiving the compensation you deserve. Don’t settle for anything less. Call us for your 100% free consultation.