Winter driving is notoriously more difficult than driving in the summer. Even a light dusting of snow can make the roads very slick, and there is always the chance that there’s an invisible layer of black ice just waiting to cause an accident.
Drivers must be aware of these challenges, and they must take steps to drive safely. When they don’t, they put everyone else in danger, from pedestrians to other motorists. Below are a few ways that drivers can proactively work to stay safe this year.
Get acquainted with the new conditions
Drivers should never assume that the road surface is the same as it is in the summer, and they should take steps to feel it out as soon as they begin driving. This could be as simple as testing things like acceleration, braking and turning ability when moving on to a snowy street. Drivers also need to be aware that they may need to go slower than the speed limit if conditions warrant it.
Increase following distances
One of the most important things to do is simply to drive a bit farther behind the next car. In slick conditions, stopping abruptly is often impossible and can be very dangerous, as it can cause a car to go out of control. Simply increasing the following distance to five or six seconds, rather than three, may be enough to prevent an accident.
Understand where the risks are the greatest
Drivers also need to consider when they are at the greatest risk of getting in an accident, or when the conditions may be at their worst. For instance, drivers often lose control when they go into corners too quickly. That speed may have worked on a straight line, but turning causes the car to slide on the snow, and they can crash easily. Drivers may also want to be wary of bridges, which tend to be icy even when the rest of the road isn’t since they are exposed to the air below, and so they are colder than the pavement around them.
Have you been injured by another driver?
Needless to say, not all drivers are going to follow these helpful tips this year. If one of them causes an accident and you are seriously injured, you need to know how to seek compensation for your medical bills and all related costs.