Winter in North Carolina and Virginia brings with it the chance for snow. For snow lovers, this is a welcome sight; others may find themselves dreaming of Spring. No matter which end of the spectrum you’re on, chances are you may find yourself having to drive in winter weather at some point. Driving when there is snow or ice on the roads requires some additional care in order to maintain your safety. To help, we put together this list of winter weather driving tips for you.
TIP #1 – Stay Home if Possible
Staying home and off the roads is the best way to keep yourself safe during winter weather. If you’re able, plan to work remotely on snowy or icy days. It can also be helpful to run any necessary errands prior to the start of the snow or ice, such as picking up prescriptions or going to the grocery store. For those times when you are unable to stay home and have to drive in the snow or ice, check out our other tips below!
TIP #2 – Adjust Your Driving for the Weather Conditions
Slow Down. Snow and ice can make it harder to stop your vehicle. It can also make it harder to keep your vehicle under control. To help manage this, drive slower than you normally would.
Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly. If you’re driving in snow and you suddenly speed up or slow down, you risk losing control of your vehicle. Your tires may struggle to maintain traction, and you could slide or spin out. If you need to slow down, stop, or speed up, do it gradually and with consistent pressure on the pedals.
Remove Snow and Ice. If your vehicle has snow or ice on it, be sure to remove the snow and ice before driving. Otherwise, the snow or ice could fly off of your vehicle while you’re driving down the road. This could be a distraction to you or other drivers. Additionally, the snow and ice flying off of your vehicle has the potential to cause a wreck or significant damage to vehicles around you.
Maintain Extra Distance. Your vehicle may not be able to stop or react as quickly when you’re driving in ice or snow. By maintaining extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicles around you, you give yourself more time to stop or react in case you or other vehicles stop suddenly or lose control.
Look Out for Black Ice. When the roads get wet and then the water freezes, it can sometimes just look like a puddle of water on the road when it’s actually ice. This happens often on low areas of a road or on overpasses and bridges. If the road looks wet but the temperatures have recently been below freezing, assume that the wet road could actually be ice. Slow down as you approach these areas so you have time to react as necessary.
TIP #3 – Be Prepared in Case of an Emergency
Despite our best intentions, there are still times when we might find ourselves delayed, trapped, or stranded during winter weather. During the winter months, you can plan ahead for this scenario by keeping a few emergency supplies on hand in your vehicle such as:
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- A way to charge your cell phone
- Warm clothes including gloves and boots
- Bottled water and snacks
TIP #4 – Check Your Vehicle
Before you hit the road, check over vehicle to make sure everything is working properly. This tip applies to travel year-round, not just in the winter; however, because of the potential for snow and ice during the winter months, this tip is especially important. Some things to check for when inspecting your vehicle include:
- Fluid levels such as power steering fluid, oil, and washer fluid
- Tire pressure and tire tread
- Lights – Make sure all of your lights are working including your interior lights, headlights, brake lights, and turn signals.
- Windshield wipers
- Gas or charge levels – Keep your tank full if you can. If you drive an electric vehicle, be sure you’re charging it regularly.
We hope these tips are helpful during the winter months here in North Carolina and Virginia. Our firm handles personal injury cases, and we see the injuries and wrecks that can happen during winter weather, so we want to help keep you and your loved ones safe. In the event something happens or you just have questions, give us a call! At Burton Law Firm, we’re happy to talk with you, and we offer free consultations. Stay warm, and stay safe!