“I’m from New York…I know how to drive in the snow!”
During inclement weather, how many times have you or one of your friends said this? Here in New York, we’re no stranger to harsh, cold winters and facing hazardous winter road conditions. Many of us flaunt our winter driving skills like a badge of honor. Regular driving through snow, ice, and winter weather can give you a lot of confidence — but that doesn’t mean you are actually safe on the road.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 21% of crashes each year are weather-related. Of this percentage, winter weather conditions account for 13-18% of weather-related accidents.
How Can I Stay Safe On the Road in Winter?
The easiest way to avoid an accident in wintry conditions is, of course, to stay off the road. If you must brave the elements, it is important to be prepared, not only for your own safety, but for the safety of other drivers.
Thoroughly Clean Off Your Car
We’ve all been there: running a few minutes late and the car is covered in snow. To save a few minutes, you clear off your windshield, side windows, and rear window, and then set off, leaving a large pile of snow or ice on your hood, trunk lid, and roof. While you are able to see outside of your vehicle, the remaining snow and ice on your car can be hazardous to both you and other drivers.
For example, if you are traveling at high speeds, the remaining debris on your car can fly off and hit other vehicles. Or, if you brake abruptly, it can slide onto your windshield or rear window and cause visibility problems.
In addition, it is important to clear off your headlights and brake lights, as they help you see the road — and help other drivers see you.
Create A Survival Kit
In case of an emergency, keep a survival kit in your trunk. Supplies can include: a shovel, flashlight, battery-powered radio, booster cables, road salt, a first-aid kit, matches, emergency flares, snacks, and a blanket.
One of the most important things you can do as a driver in wintry conditions is reduce your speed and keep your focus on the road. By doing this, you can increase your stopping distance, better identify slippery patches on the road, and adjust to your surroundings. A reduced speed also can increase the your wheel traction, which helps to keep you on the road.
If your car begins sliding, your first instinct may be to brake aggressively, but in truth, this may make things worse, as it causes the weight of the car to shift. Instead of slamming on the brakes, sometimes just taking your foot off the gas and letting the car slow down this way is all you need to regain control.
Maintain Your Distance
Along with reducing your speed, you will want to lengthen the distance between your vehicle and others on the road. This can help you maintain control of your vehicle and avoid a collision, as well as help you judge what road conditions are ahead of you.
Involved in a Winter Weather Car Accident? Count on Chiariello & Chiariello
No matter how carefully you drive or what precautions you take, an accident may be unavoidable. If you have been involved in a winter weather auto accident due to another driver’s carelessness or negligence, the attorneys at Chiariello & Chiariello are here for you. We represent clients across Queens, Long Island, NYC, and surrounding areas in a full range of personal injury matters.