Winter Driving Guide: How to Avoid Accidents

Waking up to a thick white blanket of snow covering everything in sight can be one of the many joys of the season. That is, until you have to drive in it. According to the American Journal of Public Health, there are 1.5 million annual car crashes associated with poor driving conditions caused by weather. These dangerous driving conditions have lead to an estimated 7,000 people killed each year and 800,000 more injured.

Be CautiousWinter Driving Guide, TJ Woods Insurance Agency, Worcester, MA

This may seem obvious to most, but it is often overlooked. Winter driving can be frightening, but with a little more concentration and alertness you can keep yourself safe. Under the law, what is reasonable in good weather may not be reasonable in bad weather.

  • Speed– Slow down. This is the most important thing you can do when driving in dangerous conditions. Even if you are going under the speed limit, you could still be driving unreasonably for those conditions. Posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Braking– Brake early, and leave plenty of room for stopping (8-10 seconds following distance). It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions. Also, do not slam on the brakes when you start to slide. This takes away traction from your tires and control of the vehicle. Gradually decrease acceleration and steer into the direction you want to go.
  • Clear Snow and Ice off your Vehicle– Icy windshields, windows, and mirrors severely reduce visibility and that is the last thing you want to be facing in a storm. Give yourself enough time to warm up the vehicle and to clear it off before heading out. Also, remember to clear the snow off the top of your vehicle. This will keep you safe and other drivers on the road safe as well.

As long as you slow down and are driving cautiously and reasonably for the conditions, then you should be able to avoid most accidents and get where you need to be.

Be Prepared

Don’t let the winter sneak up on you without preparing for those slippery winter roads. It is important to know how to prepare for these conditions to avoid accidents and enjoy a happy and healthy winter season.

Winterize your Vehicle

Schedule a maintenance check-up to assess tires, battery, oil, lights, brakes, wipers, and heat. Having good snow tires on your vehicle can make all the difference in the world when battling a storm. Snow tires have indisputably superior grip and braking to all-season tires, and can be worth the investment. If you don’t have snow tires, you will want to make sure that the treads on your tires are not worn out. If they are you should consider replacing them because treads will give you better traction and grip in those dangerous conditions.

Emergency Kits

No one ever thinks that they will be stranded in a potentially dangerous situation, but it is important to be prepared for the worst. In an emergency, it could save your life and the lives of any passengers. Ideally, a cold-weather emergency kit should consist of a thermal blanket, a charged flashlight, a small shovel, a warm hat and pair of gloves, matches, water, and snack food. You should also always keep some cash on you, and keep your gas tank near full.

If you live in an area with higher yearly snowfall and snow-related accidents, you should see about increasing not only your safety through smarter driving and preparation, but also though a more comprehensive coverage for your car and the people in it. Please contact TJ Woods Insurance Agency, and we can help keep you on the road, driving safe and secure.