Posted in Car Accident on January 27, 2023
Distracted driving is always dangerous, but in the winter, even the smallest distractions have the potential to be disastrous. Vehicles that are unprepared or unequipped for winter weather also pose a great risk, no matter how skilled the driver may be.
Below are some of the easiest ways to be a better driver during the winter months, making yourself and others around you much safer.
Even if the weather seems perfect when you’re leaving, it can change quickly – especially during the winter. But by taking a few precautionary steps, you can make sure your vehicle is well-prepared for the trip ahead to help protect your safety.
When the temperature dips, so does your tire pressure. This means you’ll need to check your tire pressure more frequently and ensure that your tires are inflated to the manufacturer-recommended pressure (this information can be found on the inside of the driver’s side door or on the tire’s sidewall).
Check your car’s owner’s manual because several manufacturers recommend that tires be inflated over the standard recommended pressure, typically 3-5 PSI higher, but this is specific to each tire and manufacturer.
You should also check for any damage, such as bulges, something lodged in the tread, sidewall cuts, etc. The last thing you’ll want to deal with is being stranded in the cold because a tire failed.
Read: Vehicle & Tire Safety – Colorado Department of Transportation
Just like the pressure in your tires drops during cold temperatures, your battery might not hold power as well in the winter, either. Have your battery checked to make sure all the connections are secure, there’s no corrosion, and to make sure it’s fully charged.
If you’re concerned that your battery will die if your car isn’t driven frequently, your local auto parts store can help you determine if a trickle charger is necessary for your car.
Make sure all of your lights are working properly before you hit the road. This means checking not only the headlights and turn signals, but also your interior lights, running lights, fog lights, brake lights, and hazard lights. You may even consider asking your mechanic to replace your current bulbs with new, brighter ones which can help increase your visibility during these darker months.
Worn windshield wipers can decrease your visibility during a storm which can be very dangerous. Make sure you check your windshield wipers for any cracks and that they clear your window without leaving anything that can obstruct your visibility.
You might not consider using windshield fluid during the winter, however, there are specialized fluids made for winter that contain deicing agents which can help keep your windshield clear and your visibility high. You might go through it more quickly than during the summer, so keep some on hand if you can as an extra precautionary measure.
Another way to ensure safe driving during the winter months is by making sure your vehicle is equipped to handle potentially hazardous road conditions. You can create a “winter kit” for your car that contains helpful tools and safety gear to help protect you in the event of an accident or emergency.
Here are some helpful ideas of what you should consider putting in your kit–some might seem unnecessary, but they can be very helpful in a cold weather emergency.
Always check the weather forecast before you head out – especially if you’re going to be on the road for an extended period of time. If a storm is coming in and it’s supposed to be bad, consider postponing your trip if possible.
If you can’t, then think about leaving earlier so you don’t have to be out when the worst part of the storm hits. Leave for work earlier than you normally would to allow you to drive slower and safer, and to account for traffic or road closures caused by other accidents.
Finally, the easiest way to help promote road safety during the winter months is by staying alert and being aware of your surroundings. While you should always make sure you’re alert while driving, being especially careful during the winter can save lives.
Black ice and frost patches can appear frequently so driving while erring on the side of caution can make you and everyone around you much safer.
As prepared as you might be, you never know when an emergency may strike, especially when it involves unpredictable winter weather. If you find yourself stuck, stay calm and focused on keeping yourself and your passengers, as safe and comfortable as possible. Keep the following in mind:
Hopefully, every trip you take this winter will be safe and smooth. But if you’re hurt in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, a Denver car accident lawyer with Zaner Harden Law will be ready to help. Just call (720) 613-9706 for a free consultation.