winter driving accidentsIcy roads are one of the top causes of automobile accidents.  An icy road can cause you to lose traction much more easily than driving in the rain, but too many drivers underestimate the risks of ice and fail to adjust their speed and driving decisions accordingly.  As the winter season approaches, be mindful of the changing driving conditions and be smart when you’re behind the wheel—for your own safety and the safety of others on the road.

Safe Driving on Icy Roads

Ideally, if icy weather is predicted you should try to stay home or at work until the snow plows have had a chance to clear the roads and put down salt. If you absolutely must drive, there are ways you can prepare for the bad weather ahead.

Check the weather forecast for the entire route you are going to be driving to see if icy conditions are a possibility.  Be sure that the tires on your vehicle are properly maintained and that you have good windshield wipers to keep your windshield clear.

Technology can be of some help.  When you put your foot on the brake, the ABS (anti-lock brake system) begins its cycle.  You will probably feel pulses in the pedal or hear the system working.  On icy roads, ease up gently on the pedal until the pulsing happens only once per second.  If your car doesn’t have ABS, you will have to rely on your own instincts.

For cars without ABS, push the brake pedal hard until the tires stop turning.  You should then immediately release the break just enough to allow the tires to start turning once again.  Repeat this rapidly.  It isn’t the same as “pumping the brake.”  The goal here is to get maximum grip with the tires.

All-wheel drive (AWD) and electronic stability control can cause trouble by giving you a false sense of security.  AWD can only help your car accelerate or keep moving.  It can’t help you go around a turn covered in snow or stop at an icy intersection.

Tips To Avoid Icy Road Accidents

GET A GRIP.  Tires require 6/32-inch deep tread for traction.  Most tires made today have 10/32-inch of tread.  Ultra-high performance tires and even all-season tires don’t really have great traction in snow.  If you live in an area where there is snow on a regular basis, get snow tires for your car.

MAKE SURE YOU CAN SEE.  Make sure your windshield wipers are in good working order.  Make sure your windshield wiper fluid is an anti-icing formula and make sure it’s full.

CHECK THE LIGHTS.  Make sure your headlights and taillights are free of snow and ice.  Your lights will help others see you when you are out on the road.

WATCH OUT FOR BLACK ICE.  If the road looks slippery, then it probably is.  Once of the worst hazards of winter is black ice.  This is transparent ice that sometimes looks like a puddle of water.

This winter, please do not overestimate your driving abilities, or underestimate the dangers of icy roads.  Prepare your vehicle, watch the weather forecasts, adjust your plans, and be careful!

If you are injured in a car accident that was caused by icy roads, an experienced personal injury attorneymay be able to help you.

CONTACT The Lieser Law firm today for a FREE legal consultation.