Tips for Safe Driving This Winter

As winter starts to cover the roads with snow and ice, driving becomes an icy ballet of caution and skill. Are you prepared to glide upon these frosty roads with the grace of a seasoned driver?

Winter in Oregon and Washington can transform roads into treacherous thoroughfares. With over 1,300 traffic deaths attributed to snowy, slushy, or icy pavement annually in the U.S., safe winter driving is a necessity. Vames, Wang & Sosa Injury Lawyers have seen the repercussions of winter driving accidents firsthand. This guide offers essential tips to help you navigate winter roads safely, reducing the risk of accidents and ensuring a smoother journey during the coldest months.

 

Ensuring Safe Winter Travels 

Safe winter driving starts with preparation and awareness. Adverse weather demands more than just cautious driving; it requires proactive measures to ensure your vehicle’s readiness and your own. From checking your vehicle’s condition to adjusting your driving style, every step you take contributes to your safety and that of others on the road.

1. Inspect the Tires

Your tires are your first defense against slippery conditions. Ensure they have adequate tread depth – at least 4/32 inches for winter driving. Consider investing in winter tires, which provide better snow and ice traction than all-season tires. Remember, good tires can make the difference between a close call and a call to your lawyer.

2. Secure Floor Mats

Loose floor mats can interfere with the operation of the pedals. Secure them properly to avoid unexpected slippage. This simple step can prevent a potentially dangerous situation while driving.

3. Stock Your Vehicle

Equip your vehicle with essentials like a snow shovel, ice scraper, blankets, flashlight, and a first-aid kit. In case of an emergency or breakdown, these items can be lifesavers. Also, keep some non-perishable snacks and water in your car.

4. Fill Your Gas Tank or Charge Up Your Battery

Ensure a buffer against gas line freeze-up by keeping your gas tank consistently above half full. For electric vehicle owners, keep your vehicle charged. Cold weather can reduce battery performance, so having enough charge to reach your destination and handle any unexpected delays is crucial.

5. Drive Responsibly

Reduce speed and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Remember, stopping distances can be ten times longer on snow and ice. Avoid sudden stops and sharp turns, and be extra cautious on bridges and overpasses.

What Should You Do If You Start to Skid?

If you find yourself skidding, remain calm. Don’t slam on the brakes. Instead, ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want to go. For cars without an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), gently pump the brakes. For those with ABS, apply steady pressure and let the system do its job.

 

What Vehicle Features Offer Additional Protection for Winter Driving?

Winter driving demands skill and the right vehicle features to enhance safety. Modern vehicles are equipped with several features designed explicitly for tackling challenging winter conditions. From improving traction to ensuring clear visibility, these features can be vital in preventing accidents during snow and ice conditions.

  • All-Wheel Drive

All-wheel drive (AWD) systems provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle, offering superior traction in slippery conditions compared to traditional two-wheel-drive vehicles. This feature can be particularly helpful in areas with heavy snowfall, as it improves handling and control. While AWD doesn’t improve stopping distances, it can help prevent the loss of control on icy roads, making it a valuable feature for winter driving safety.

  • Heated Side Mirrors

Heated side mirrors are a small but significant feature for winter driving. They help keep the mirrors clear of ice and snow, ensuring good visibility of the road and surrounding traffic. Clear side mirrors are crucial for safe lane changes and turns, especially in poor visibility conditions common during winter.

  • Windshield Wiper De-Icers

Windshield wiper de-icers are designed to prevent the wipers from freezing to the windshield, ensuring they remain effective in clearing snow and ice. This feature is incredibly important for maintaining visibility during heavy snowfall or freezing rain. Clear visibility is essential for safe driving, and windshield wiper de-icers are crucial in providing it.

 

Vames, Wang & Sosa Injury Lawyers understand the challenges of winter driving. If you are injured because of a winter driving accident, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experienced team is here to provide the legal support and guidance you need and we are committed to helping you through every step of the process.

Emery Wang

Emery Wang

Emery Wang has been a lawyer in Oregon since 2009. While attending Lewis & Clark law school, Emery worked as a Multnomah County District Attorney, and since then has been a full time personal injury lawyer.

Vames, Wang & Sosa Injury Lawyers focus on vehicle crashes, personal injury, and first-party car accident insurance claims. They have offices located in Gresham and Hillsboro.

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