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Driving in Winter? Be Prepared and Stay Safe

Winter weather is now in full swing here in the Midwest. Last week, we saw a major winter snowstorm that covered the Midwest, causing hazardous driving conditions for drivers across the region. In fact, that storm was responsible for at least five deaths in Kansas and Missouri. Part of interstate 44 near St. Louis was closed off for hours due to the accidents, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol announced traffic delays upward of eight hours. Other interstates that were congested due to the weather conditions were I-72, I-74, and I-57. Unfortunately, more snow is in the forecast and there could be another winter storm this upcoming weekend. High winds will be present and one to five inches of snow may accumulate. With that said, it is imperative that drivers be immensely alert and cautious while driving in these conditions to avoid possible accidents from occurring.  All drivers on the road should be aware of safety rules in regards to winter weather conditions. To better prepare yourself for the possible upcoming winter storm, check out the following winter driving rules.

Make sure your vehicle is prepared: Before getting on the road, make sure that your vehicle is prepared for the weather. Have your vehicle checked for necessary parts, repairs, and replacements. Make sure the battery is up to the challenge that winter conditions bring, as it takes more battery power to start your vehicle in winter conditions. Inspect your tires before long trips and make sure each tire is filled to the recommended inflation pressure. Finally, make sure your vehicle is stocked with warm blankets, phone chargers, and food in case of emergency and always keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid the gas line freezing up.

Give yourself enough time to go slow: Driving slow in winter conditions may seem like a no-brainer, however, many people are in such a rush to get to their destination, they ignore this while driving in winter conditions. Accelerating, stopping, and turning are less predictable on snow covered roads. Accelerate slowly to maintain traction and leave yourself a significant amount of space to stop at traffic lights. Be patient and allow yourself more time to get to your destination in order to get there safely.

Never use cruise control: Most drivers are used to using cruise control on a daily basis, however, they should avoid using it during winter road conditions. If your vehicle skids or hydroplanes, it will accelerate due to the vehicle trying to keep a constant speed, causing you to lose control of your vehicle much easier.

Increase stopping distance time: While driving on dry pavement, the recommended following distance is three to four seconds. When driving in winter conditions, that time should be increased to eight to ten seconds. Your breaks are weaker in these conditions, and allowing your vehicle more time to stop will help you to avoid a possible collision with another driver.

Pull over or stay home: Before leaving, keep yourself updated on weather and road conditions. If the weather is too bad, avoid getting on the roads at all costs. If you are already driving and you find the road conditions getting unbearable, pull over until you feel safe to drive again. This is when your emergency stock will come in handy.

Due to busy schedules and time commitments, many drivers ignore the following rules when driving in winter weather conditions. This not only puts them in danger, but also other passengers in the vehicle and other drivers on the road. We are not invincible to the hazards that these conditions present, and we must take our time and be cautious to ensure everyone’s safety on the road. In this case, slow and steady will always win the race.

Unfortunately, we cannot control the actions of other drivers on the road. No matter how many precautions you take, you may still find yourself involved in an accident. If you or a loved one has been a victim in a winter weather-related accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the responsible party. The experienced car accident attorneys at Spiros Law P.C. will work diligently to get you the compensation that you deserve. To speak about your unique situation, contact us at (217) 443-4343.