Tips For Driving In Inclement Weather
Last week, Charleston received about six inches of snow while the roads and sidewalks quickly turned icy. Driving in snow and ice requires special care to prevent your car from sliding off the road. Watch the weather reports carefully before leaving, and delay your trip if possible. Stay in a motel overnight if you are already on the road when it starts to snow. If traveling is unavoidable, follow these five tips for a safer journey.
Check your car
Before driving, it is important to evaluate your car’s brakes, tire pressure, headlights, and brake lights. Since visibility is greatly reduced during inclement weather, you are at a greater risk of an accident if other cars can’t see your lights. In addition, make sure your car has a full tank of gas and a charged battery before driving in case you are stuck on the side of the road. Check your exhaust pipe to make sure it is clear of snow or ice. A clogged gas pipe could result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Bring an emergency kit
Whenever you are planning to drive in the snow or in cold weather, pack a safety kit to store in the backseat of your car. You’ll want to include a blanket, several bottles of water, gloves, food, and any medications you might need. Pack an extra cell phone and charger in case your phone runs out of battery in an emergency. Bring paper maps with you in case you are lost and you can’t get a GPS signal due to a collapsed power line.
When on icy roads, drive as slowly as possible. Accelerating, and especially stopping, increases your risk of sliding off the road. Try to avoid stopping if possible, and never stop on a hill. If you need to stop for a traffic light, give yourself plenty of time to slow down instead of slamming on the brakes. Stay at least eight to ten seconds away from the car in front of you since it will take longer to stop. Remember that bridges will ice before roads, meaning that even if the roads seem fine, a bridge may be covered in ice.
Use threshold braking
Even if your car is equipped with antilock brakes, you should drive by resting the heel of your foot on the floor and applying firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal with the ball of your foot. If your vehicle starts to slide, avoid hitting your brakes and instead try to turn your wheels in the direction the car is sliding. Don’t overcorrect: this can cause the car to spin uncontrollably. This video shows how to turn into the slide to straighten out your vehicle.
Equip your car with the right tires
If you’re anticipating snowy or icy conditions, you’ll want to make sure your car is equipped with tires that can handle the inclement weather. Most tires need at least 6/32-inch deep tread to drive through snow. Don’t mix and match tires. Buy a full set of winter tires or keep your all-season tires. The majority of winter tires are equipped with wear bars, but as long as all four of your tires have enough tread they should be safe.
During the winter season, John Price Law Firm advises you and your loved ones to stay off the roads when possible and to drive with caution. In the event of an accident, contact us at (843) 52-6011 for experienced, compassionate representation that can get you the justice you deserve.