Tips for Preventing Car Accidents in Winter Weather

Winter weather can make driving hazardous, and although most people know to practice caution, the number of accidents spikes dramatically every winter. Here, the auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse provide tips for driving in wintery conditions.

Check Your Vehicle’s Tire Pressure

When the weather is cold, the air in your tires contracts, meaning your tire pressure may be too low. This can prove detrimental to winter driving—a car riding on tires at an improper pressure will not be able to handle as effectively. More importantly, tires that are not inflated properly are more likely to overheat, and an overheated tire could explode, potentially leading to a serious accident. Over inflated tires are also problematic, because they decrease traction on an already slippery and icy road. Consult your vehicle’s owner manual to determine the correct pressure for your tires.

Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly

Skidding, sliding and spinning tires are more likely to occur when your vehicle makes quick, abrupt movements. When driving in snowy or icy conditions, accelerate and decelerate slowly, and use gentle on-and-off movements when attempting to brake. If you lose control of your vehicle, do not jerk the wheel or slam the brakes—the car will eventually regain traction, allowing you to take control once again.

Increase Your Following Distance on the Road

Snow and ice on the roads makes braking more difficult, as the tires cannot grip the road properly. This means that drivers should increase their following distance when driving. A safe driving distance in winter weather is six seconds—this means that when a car directly in front of you reaches a specific point in the road, it should take your car six seconds to reach the same point. If a car in front of you stops suddenly or skids, you will have an adequate amount of time to brake and prevent an accident.

Avoid Using Cruise Control

Cruise control may be a convenient way to prevent fatigue or speeding, but it can prove dangerous in winter weather. If your car is on cruise control, hits a patch of ice and skids, the car will continue to accelerate, and the wheels may spin out of control, as the car is attempting to maintain the speed that cruise control is set to. This could cause you to lose control of your car.

Keep Distractions to a Minimum

Distracted driving is dangerous at any time of year, but when conditions are already inclement, distracted driving can make a bad situation worse. Keep phones stored while driving, and try to limit use of the radio or GPS devices. If there are others in the car, ask them to keep conversation quiet and to a minimum. Do not eat or drink while driving, and if you become fatigued, pull over to a safe location to rest and have something to eat.

If You Get into an Accident, Contact the Law Office of Douglas T. Sachse Immediately

The auto accident attorneys at the Law Office of Douglas T. Sachse wants everyone to drive safely this winter season. Unfortunately, even the most prepared driver cannot prevent every accident, especially when it’s caused by the negligence of another driver. If you have been in an accident caused by another’s negligence, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

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