Winter can be a challenging time for Falmouth and Orleans drivers. Many of the cases that come through my office during the winter are related to car accidents in the towns of Falmouth and Orleans. More often than not these car accidents are the result of inclement Cape Cod weather.
Many Falmouth and Orleans roadways become quite hazardous once a little snow and ice begin to form on them. In particular route 28 heading towards Falmouth and route 6 heading towards Orleans are two sections of highway that experience car accidents each winter season.
For the residents of Falmouth and Orleans, staying off the roads during inclement winter weather is not always an option. Therefore it is extra important to do all you can to remain safe on these two stretches of highway throughout the coming winter months.
Below are my top 8 tips for safe winter driving in the towns of Falmouth and Orleans:
8 Winter Driving Tips for Falmouth and Orleans Residents
1) The best winter driving advice I can give to residents of Falmouth and Orleans is to simply not drive at all during inclement weather. However if you must drive, be sure to allow ample time for Falmouth and Orleans roadway departments to clear and sand the roads.
2) Heading eastbound on route 6 towards Orleans, the highway merges from two lanes into one. The result is a string of cars traveling at high speeds, all lined up one behind the other.
Be sure to give yourself plenty of extra space to stop, in case the car directly in front of you slams on their brakes. Route 6 can be an incredibly dangerous place to drive during a Cape Cod Nor ‘Easter. Remaining cognizant of the distance between you, and the car in front of you, is extra important on this stretch of highway.
3) While driving on route 28 heading towards Falmouth and on route 6 heading towards Orleans, I recommend turning on your headlights. This will make you more visible to oncoming motorists during wintry conditions.
4) Fortunately Cape Cod is not a hilly or mountainous region. Yet there are certain sections of Falmouth and Orleans roadways where traveling in a lower gear is advised. Any section of road with an incline or decline can be more safely traversed by shifting into a lower gear.
This rings especially true along sections of road that border the ocean or a bay. In these sections windswept ice and snow can create super slick roadway conditions.
5) Be especially careful on the bridges. Both the Sagamore Bridge and the Bourne Bridge accumulate ice before the surrounding roadways. Smaller bridges in Orleans and Falmouth should also be traversed with care in wintry conditions.
6) Even though it may be tempting to pass a Falmouth or Orleans plow, I would not recommend doing so. Both Falmouth and Orleans departments utilize large and powerful trucks. Drivers of such vehicles often have a difficult time keeping tabs on smaller vehicles while plowing during winter storms.
Attempting to pass a Falmouth or Orleans plow in inclement weather is not advised. First off the plow driver may not notice you. Second, odds are the condition of the roadway in front of the plow is not good.
Your safest bet is to remain behind the plow, and accept the fact that it may take a few extra minutes to reach your destination.
7) If your wheels begin to skid your first move should be to take your foot off of the accelerator. Do not slam down on your brakes. If you have regular brakes, resort to pumping them steadily. If you have ABS brakes, apply steady pressure and allow the brake system to do its job.
Each season drivers on route 28 in Falmouth and on route 6 in Orleans find themselves in the woods after skidding off the highway. Not reacting appropriately to skid situations is often the reason why such events occur.
8) If you do end up stuck on the side of a Falmouth or Orleans roadway, do not spin your wheels. Spinning your wheels in snow, dirt or sand will only further sink your vehicle into the ground. Instead, add rocks and sticks into the hole created by the spinning tires.
This will help the tires gain traction and become “unstuck.”
The winter of 2011-2012 proved to be a cake walk for Cape Codders. Warmer than usual temperatures kept most roadways clear and ice free – including the streets of both Famlouth and Orleans.
Who knows what the winter of 2012-2013 will present to residents of Falmouth, Orleans and off of Cape Cod for that matter. I suppose we can only cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Throughout the coming months, please remain aware of driving conditions. As a practicing Falmouth and Orleans attorney, I speak from experience when I say the consequences of a winter car accident can be devastating for all parties involved.
Stay safe out there and have a wonderful winter.