Winter is a great time of year – the frosty mornings, the sunshine glinting off the freshly fallen snow. The scenery is simply magical. When it comes to driving, however, the conditions are anything but magical. Here’s how to avoid a car accident during the Christmas season.
Winter-Proof Your Car
According to car-buying site Edmunds, having the right tires is one of the most critical things when it comes to driving safely in snowy weather. In order for a tire to perform effectively in dangerous winter conditions, it needs to have a tire tread that is at least 6/32-inches deep. This is backed up not only by research from Tire Rack but also by the combined real-world experiences of northern nations and their governments.
When choosing winter tires, make sure to look out for the symbol of a snowflake on a mountain along the sidewall, as this is the tire-industry standard for traction in snowy conditions. If you cannot get winter tires, consider chains, which can be applied to your standard tires and offer a great deal of traction in winter driving conditions.
Ideally, you should examine your car’s brakes before the winter season arrives to ensure they are in perfect working order. Make sure that the brake pads aren’t excessively worn, and if they are, replace them.
Maneuvering in snowy weather takes much longer than when driving on dry surfaces. This is doubly true when it comes to braking. Modern brakes don’t require pumping in order to avoid traction issues. Thanks to anti-lock braking systems, drivers simply press their foot down firmly on the brakes and the car will stop. In icy and snowy conditions, however, brakes can take longer to bring a vehicle to a complete stop. According to the American Automobile Association, braking on icy conditions can take roughly two times longer.
Beyond checking your brakes and installing winter tires, there are several other precautions you should take to make sure your vehicle is ready for wintery conditions on the roads. These include:
- Ensure the defroster, heater, exhaust, and lights all function properly.
- Inspect and replace windshield wiper blades.
- Change your car’s oil for oil more suited to colder temperatures.
- Test your car battery and replace if needed.
Drive Slow and Steady
When it comes to driving in the snow, or on icy roads, any type of maneuvering takes longer than it would on a dry surface. According to Debbie Hersman, the president and CEO of the National Safety Council, “Drivers frequently underestimate how long it can take to brake. You want to increase that time in order to stay in control. Don’t use cruise control, and if you’re sliding, definitely slow down.”
To stay safe while driving in snowy or icy weather conditions, make sure you accelerate, then stop and turn slowly to ensure you maintain good traction and grip during maneuvering. It’s especially important to remember that bridges and overpasses often freeze well before roads do, so take extra precautions when you are driving over them.
Injured in a Crash? Contact DeZao Law Today
If you are injured in a car accident this winter, seek expert legal guidance right away. Speak with an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney today at the Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. Our firm is here to assist you with your car accident case. Call us at (973) 358-6134 for a free consultation.