We experienced more winter weather than we’re used to in North Carolina this year! Rain and snow inhibit visibility, increase slickness on the road and intimidates nervous drivers. It’s easy to observe the havoc bad weather causes on the road, but how can you be safe in bad weather? The clear weather gives us clearer minds, so here are some safety tips to be aware of in order to better navigate through our next round of inclement weather:
Avoid Negligent Driving Behaviors
In an earlier blog post, we addressed several common negligent driving behaviors such as distracted driving, driving while fatigued and driving while intoxicated. Limited visibility and wet roads are going to dramatically increase the probability of a catastrophic accident occurring if you are already engaging in negligent behavior. Remain alert and only drive if you have the complete capacity to do so.
In heavy rain or snow, it is best to drive slow and give yourself more time to react should another vehicle start skidding or makes a sudden stop. Accelerating, turning and stopping all take place at a much slower pace than on hard pavement. AAA recommends increasing the normal following distance of 3-4 seconds to 8-10 seconds to provide a longer distance if you need to stop. Don’t power up hills or ride your brake when going down a hill. This increases your risk of skidding.
If you start to skid, Weather.com recommends that you take your foot off the accelerator and steering in the direction that the rear wheels are skidding. You may have to steer right and left a few times to regain control of your car. If you have standard brakes, gently pump them; but, with anti-lock brakes, you’ll want to apply steady pressure to the brakes.
If you get stuck, Weather.com recommends turning the wheels from side to side rather than spinning them. You can also try clearing the snow away from your wheels with a shovel. If you have access to it, sand or kitty litter can also help you gain traction. It’s important to ease your vehicle out slowly.
Always be sure that all of your lights and windshield wipers are functioning. Test them both before pulling out for a long trip. And, probably of most importance is making sure that you have enough tread on your tire. Real Simple has a great tip – slip a penny into the tread of your tire with Lincoln going in head first. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for a new tire. Also, travel with an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, road flares, a shovel and jumper cables.
If you do not feel safe driving in a storm, wait it out until the weather lets up or until the snow plows are salt trucks are able to do their job. It is always better to arrive late than to never arrive at all. If, despite your best efforts, you are injured in a car accident during adverse weather, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Wilson Law, P.A. for a free