Avoiding Car Accidents and Safety Tips for Driving in Snow and Ice

Winter Driving - Robert Allison, Attorney at Law

Driving in winter means snow, sleet and ice that can lead to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions, hot tempers, unforeseen dangers, and car accidents. The best advice for driving in bad weather is not to drive at all if you can avoid it.

Driving in Snowy Conditions

If you must drive in snowy conditions, don’t go out until the snowplows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work. Remember to allow yourself extra time to reach your destination, go slowly and keep a safe distance from any other vehicles on the road, and brake gently to avoid skidding. Be aware that black ice can develop quickly, especially after sunset when temperatures tend to plummet. On snow and ice, it takes 3 to 12 times as much distance to stop your car as it does on dry pavement. If you do skid, take your foot off the gas, steer into the skid and resume driving only after the vehicle regains traction.

Prepare Your Car for Winter Driving

Preparing your vehicle for winter can help keep you safe, even before the snow piles up.

  • Check the vehicle’s tire pressure. Proper tire pressure can significantly increase the ability to control a vehicle.
  • Check the vehicle’s fluids, including motor oil, antifreeze, and wiper fluid.
  • Test the battery. Vehicle batteries have to work harder in cold weather. Many repair shops will test batteries for free.
  • Examine the wiper blades and replace them, if necessary.
  • Keep a roadside kit in the vehicle for maintenance and emergencies, including jumper cables, shovel, flashlight, ice scraper and snow brush, and extra windshield washer fluid.
  • Make sure the spare tire is properly inflated and that the rear window defroster works.
  • Be aware of a truck’s blind spot and spray from snow or slush.
  • Signal your intention to change lanes well ahead of time.

To minimize the instances of driving in hazardous weather, it’s important to monitor forecasts and plan accordingly. Also, remember that in many states, including Massachusetts, the law requires that all windows be clear before you drive. You need just as much, if not more, visibility in poor conditions. Your side-view mirrors, all lights, and your license plate should be brushed and cleared as well.

Information about Car Accident Claims

You can get more information about car accident claims—including how personal injury claims are processed and evaluated, steps into a lawsuit, hiring an attorney, and mistakes that can ruin your claim—from Attorney Bob Allison’s free book on Massachusetts personal injury claims or by calling his office at 978-740-9433.