Fall and winter are beautiful seasons but they also mean increased rain, snow, sleet, and ice. Walking or driving on wet and slippery surfaces is notoriously unsafe and can lead to injuries and lawsuits. To save yourself from these hazards, make sure you follow safe traveling tips, especially during the upcoming holiday season.
Fall and Winter Safety Tips
Properly Equip Your Car
The best way to keep safe during fall and winter travel is to keep up with car maintenance. Make sure you have plenty of antifreeze and windshield washer fluid on board. Too many vehicle accidents happen because drivers were unable to see. Check tire inflation before each trip and carry a jack and spare tire in case you need them. Double-check your tire treads to be sure you get plenty of traction, especially if heavy rain or snow is predicted. Test your battery and carry jumper cables.
Make sure to keep blankets, a first-aid kit, and extra food and water handy, particularly for long trips. Take sunglasses with you, even on a cloudy day; winter sun is often intense. Carry a flashlight with batteries and ensure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave. If you don’t have emergency contacts in your phone, program them before your trip.
Take it Slow
Many people drive too fast in fall and winter weather because they’re in a hurry to reach their destinations before the weather worsens. Resist the temptation to drive too fast. Drivers of SUVs and other large vehicles, and drivers with four-wheel drive, are of particular concern.
Stay at or under the speed limit whenever possible. Do not accelerate too quickly or slam on your brakes because this can cause head-on collisions and other serious accidents. Additionally, avoid unnecessary lane changes and passing. This can cause your car to skid, resulting in an accident. Above all, be patient in bad weather and heavy traffic so everyone can safely reach their destination.
Do Not Tailgate or Use Cruise Control
It’s easy to become frustrated with someone driving slowly and give in to the temptation to tailgate. In bad weather, however, tailgating leads to serious accidents, some of which involve injuries or fatalities. Stay well behind other drivers, even if you think it’s safe to pass.
Additionally, do not use cruise control. Cruise control makes driving on busy roads easier and prevents fatigue, but it can also cause your vehicle to skid or hydroplane during heavy rain or snow. Even a light dusting of snow or sleet makes cruise control dangerous. Bring another adult with you on long trips, if possible. He or she can share driving duties, so you won’t become fatigued.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do in bad weather is stay put. Listen to the weather forecast. If meteorologists advise people to stay home, do so. If you absolutely must go out, pull over during bad weather. Again, keep your cell phone handy for emergencies so you don’t get stranded.
If you need other tips or assistance with car accident-related questions, feel free to contact Erney Law.