While winter is often deemed a wonderland, it unfortunately brings serious road hazards that can threaten the lives of those on the road. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 21% of all car collisions are weather-related, meaning adverse weather conditions contributed to the crash.
Every year, weather-related crashes affect the lives of many, being responsible for over 5,000 fatalities and over 418,000 injured people on average. The U.S. DOT also found the majority of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement and during rainfall, 70% and 46% respectively, 18% occur during snow or sleet, 13% on icy pavement, 16% on snowy or slush-like pavement, and 3% in the presence of fog.
While these statistics sound intimidating, there are steps you can take to mitigate the chances of a weather-related collision. By applying the 10 tips below, you can help reduce the chance of a weather-related crash and be prepared if one happens:
If the weather is even slightly inclement, slow down. Driving a tad slower than normal can help your reaction time should anything adverse happen on your drive. According to this Tampa car accident lawyer, you should allow at least 3 seconds of space between your car and the vehicle in front of you.
Schedule more time for your drive
Winter weather can cause unforeseen traffic collisions and unexpected delays. Giving yourself more time to get from point a to point b can help you focus on the road and not the clock.
Always have your phone and an extra charger in case of a collision. Consider investing in a portable charger should you be without access to an outlet.
In addition to an extra charger, ensure your car has the essentials in case of a serious emergency situation, whether an accident, storm, or natural disaster. A flashlight, first-aid kit, flares, sleeping bag, gloves, food, water (for drinking), and paper towels are a great start.
Ensure you have a snow scraper, snow brush, or study card to keep all windows and mirrors free and clear of visual obstructions.
Get some sleep
Drowsy driving is just as bad as distracted driving, and arguably as dangerous as driving drunk. Don’t risk your health and safety; get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road.
Avoid cruise control
While cruise control is incredibly handy, it can shorten your reaction time, especially if driving on a slippery surface.
Keep your gas tank nice and full to prevent the gas-line from freezing.
Get your vehicle inspected
If you aren’t sure when your car’s last tune-up was or if you plan on going on a long-distance trip, schedule car maintenance. Getting your car vetted by a professional can also give you peace of mind before you embark on a longer-than-usual trip.
Warm up responsibly
Avoid warming up your vehicle in an enclosed space. If you choose to warm up your car in the garage, ensure your garage door is open to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
By employing these 10 winter driving tips, you can have peace of mind knowing you are prepared for whatever elements or situations you may encounter while on the road this winter. Stay safe, keep warm, and drive cautiously this winter season!