Every single year, the number of deaths in the US spikes around Thanksgiving. The death rate remains fairly high throughout the winter. While some of these deaths can be attributed to coronary issues, many are due to traffic accidents. As a car accident attorney, I want you to stay safe over the holidays.
- Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly
Applying the gas slowly is one of the best ways to gain traction and avoid skids. It takes more time to stop when the roads are icy, so you should take your time to slow down for a stop sign or a red light. Do not hurry, or you will hurry on the way to the hospital.
- Avoid Hills if You Can
Going up or down a hill presents a massive challenge when the roads are snowy. When you press the accelerator while going up a hill, you may just be spinning your wheels. If you can, try to build up some momentum before getting onto the hill. On the descent, remember that it takes longer to come to a complete stop. Apply the brakes before you think you need to.
- Give Other Drives Space
Chances are, not every driver is as careful as you are. Turning, stopping, and speeding up are all far more difficult when conditions are poor. Other drivers do not always understand that, and may do something unexpected to compensate for a bad decision they made.
- Carry Emergency Supplies
There are a few items that every car should have:
- Tow and tire chains
- Small folding shovel
- Basic tool kit
- Warning flares
- Road salt
All of these can help you if you become stuck. In addition, water, high-energy non-perishable food, and a blanket can help you as you wait for assistance.
- Do not become distracted
This is a good tip for the entire year, but the need to focus becomes particularly acute during the holiday season. When a big day is coming up, people are texting, calling, and doing everything but looking at the road. In the year 2015, distracted driving lead to the deaths of 3,477 Americans. We understand the urge to tell your loved ones when you will be home, but it is a good idea to set the phone down while you are driving. Make certain that you have no other distractions in the car.
- Get winter tires
We love our home state of New Jersey, but it can sometimes get pretty snowy. When there is no snow on the ground, conditions may be icy or slushy. Winter tires will greatly improve your traction, and help you maneuver along the roads as you continue along your journey.
- Watch the weather
Even the safest, most cautious driver is no match for Mother Nature. As Autumn fades into Winter, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast. If it looks like we will be walloped, perhaps it may be a good idea to delay your plans.
If you have any questions about how to drive safely in winter traffic, contact us. Jim DeZao can help you.