Tips for safe winter driving

Drivers should perform one task at a time, avoid passing snow plows and perform regular maintenance to stay safe on the road during winter months.

Snowfall during winter months is not a surprise in New York. In fact, the snowfall makes the state one of the top five deadliest states for winter car wrecks, according to USA Today. During an average year, New York sees 46 fatal car accidents due to winter conditions. For this reason, residents need to use caution when driving if there is snow and ice.

Focus on a single task

When the roads are clear, motorists can simultaneously turn and decelerate. However, if this multitasking is done on an icy road, the driver may lose control of his or her vehicle. This happens because the vehicle is being told to travel in two different directions. Drivers can avoid sliding on a turn by first slowing down with the wheel kept straight and then turning the vehicle. It is also important for the operator to finish the turn before accelerating again.

Think twice before passing snow plows

Snow plows are often out on the road after a heavy snow. These vehicles often travel slowly, which can cause other travelers to get impatient. While it may be tempting to pass a slow-moving snow plow, it is actually safer to maintain a decent distance and follow the vehicle for a multitude of reasons, including the following:

  • There could be a higher risk of sliding due to the increased acceleration required for passing.
  • The road conditions ahead of the plow are often worse than those behind.
  • The snow may start to blow around after being moved by the plow, which can decrease visibility and make it hard for the passing vehicle to see oncoming traffic.
  • The plow may kick up rocks and pebbles that might crack windshields if vehicles travel too close to a working snow plow.

It might take a little longer for a vehicle driving behind a snow plow, but it is better to go a little slower than to risk getting in an accident.

Perform vehicle maintenance

No matter what the weather, it is always a good idea for vehicle owners to properly maintain their vehicles. However, the need becomes even greater in the winter. If a person were to get stranded on the side of the road, he or she may be in danger of getting injured due to extreme cold. Drivers should check tire pressure, the fuel gauge and the battery before setting out to ensure the vehicle will be able to get to its destination.

New York residents can decrease their chances of getting in a car accident during the winter months by driving with care. If an accident does take place, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney who is familiar with this type of personal injury case.