Strategies For Safe Driving During A Winter Storm

January 31, 2019 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
Strategies For Safe Driving During A Winter Storm

Like the rest of the Midwest, Cincinnati has been experiencing below-zero temperatures due to a polar vortex that has settled over the region. The wind chill is still below zero this morning and snow is expected to hit later today and into tomorrow. Unfortunately, there are still more than six weeks of winter, which can bring a variety of dangerous weather conditions, such as freezing rain, snow, arctic air breeze and possibly thunder and lightning accompanied by snowfall. Sometimes the weather is so bad the authorities tell drivers to stay off the road, but if you must take a trip, you need to take the proper precautions to help prevent a crash. Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions you take, another driver could still be careless and cause you to get into an accident. Our trusted Cincinnati car accident lawyers can help you pursue compensation if you suffer an injury in a wintertime car accident caused by a negligent driver.

Before You Drive

Safety begins before you even leave your driveway. Consider winterizing your vehicle before heading out by following these tips:
  • Fully charge your car battery or replace it if necessary
  • Check your heater and defroster
  • Check tire pressure
  • Check tire tread
  • Perform preventative maintenance on your vehicle before cold weather hits
You may want to take other steps to prepare your vehicle for winter driving, such as keeping your gas tank at least half full so that the gas does not freeze and using windshield fluid with anti-freeze. If your vehicle has ice or snow on it, use a deicer product to help you remove it. Do not use water because this can crack your windshield. Remove all ice and snow from the hood, roof, lights, windows and mirrors. Cleaning off your car will help improve visibility. If you leave snow on your hood, it could fly onto your windshield and obstruct visibility. Before you get in the car, hit your shoes together to try to knock the snow off. You do not want the snow to melt when you are in the car and potentially make the accelerator or brake slippery. You should also pack an emergency kit that contains the following items:
  • Blankets
  • Extra clothing
  • Ice scrapers and snow brushes
  • Jumper cables
  • Traffic flares or hazard triangles
  • Sand or cat litter
  • Flashlights
  • Portable cellphone charger
  • Non-perishable food
  • Water
Listen to weather reports before you leave home and change your schedule if possible to avoid particularly dangerous weather. If you must head out, be sure your phone is fully charged in case you wind up stranded or in an accident. However, if you are tired or fatigued, it is best to have someone else drive. You should not drive when fatigued even in the best of conditions, so driving while tired is particularly dangerous during a winter storm.

While On The Road

While traveling during a winter storm or in other dangerous conditions, follow these safety tips:
  • Increase following distance to 10 seconds
  • Apply steady pressure when braking
  • Do not use cruise control
  • If you skid, turn your vehicle in the direction you want to go
  • If you are going up an icy hill, do not stop, because it can be tough to get moving again
  • Do not slam on your brakes
  • Give yourself more time to slow down for a stop light, particularly so you can avoid slamming on the brakes
  • Slow down
  • Leave extra space in front of you when you are behind a vehicle traveling up a hill
  • Be extra cautious on bridges and ramps because they freeze before roads
  • Avoid changing lanes, if possible
  • Move over for first responders and snow-removal equipment
  • Make gradual lane changes if necessary
  • Signal well ahead of time so other drivers know your intentions
  • Turn slowly
  • Accelerate gently
  • Slow down your acceleration if tires lose their grip on the road and start to spin
  • Add time to your trip so that you are not in a hurry

Tips In Case Of An Accident

If you are stranded or involved in an accident during winter weather, follow these safety tips:
  • Stay with your vehicle
  • Do not run the car for long periods of time while the windows are up or in an enclosed space to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Clear the exhaust pipe of any snow if you have to run the vehicle
  • Place hazard cones around the vehicle
  • Turn on your emergency lights
  • Call for help
If you have sustained any injuries, be sure that you seek immediate medical attention. Waiting to seek treatment could make your injuries worse and lead to complications and other health issues.

Contact An Experienced Lawyer In Case Of An Accident

Sometimes, no matter how many preparations you make, you may be injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver. If this happens, it is important that you have skilled legal representation on your side. The trusted car accident lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can review your claim during a free legal consultation.