Driving in winter conditions is difficult and those of us in the Midwest have learned to become weary of driving in those conditions. Sometimes that inch of snow on the road in the morning escalates into a full-blown storm by the time you leave work. When snowstorms rage, road conditions change quickly and extra precautions are required. The personal injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham hope that you will follow our tips for driving during a snowstorm and have an accident-free winter driving season.
Plan ahead. Park off-street if you think a storm is coming to avoid getting your car towed or plowed in. Keep parking permits visible and check street signs if you don’t know the parking restrictions and plowing routes for your city. If you must drive in weather that continues to worsen, be sure that you have a fully stocked emergency kit with supplies such as blankets, a cellphone, winter clothes, and a shovel in case you get stuck.
Note changing road conditions. When driving, stay in the inside lane farthest away from the curb on multilane roads, while on a single-lane road, drive closer to the center. Snow usually piles up along the edges of the road, so driving in established tire tracks is safer. Change lanes carefully, ridges of snow tend to build up between lanes that can cause you to lose control while crossing. Reduce you speed even if the road looks clear, your stopping distance will increase with small amounts of snow or ice.
Watch out for snowplows and salt trucks. If you come across a snowplow or salt truck, drive slowly and give them the right of way, leaving plenty of room including a minimum of 150 feet to stop. Snowplows and salt trucks often make sudden stops and turns, and may not even be aware of your vehicle if the storm is strong, so never try to pass them.
Stay on visible stretches of road. During a snowstorm, the last thing you want is to be stuck in the snow, especially off of the road or in a ditch. Don’t drive off the plowed road unless you know what’s under the snow. One of the leading causes of drowning in the Midwest comes from cars falling through lake ice after mistakenly driving off the road and onto a frozen surface. Driving into a ditch is easy with a foot of snow obscuring curbs and driveways. Use your shovel or sand if you think you can dig a stuck vehicle out, but remain in your vehicle and wait for authorities if you’re near the road to avoid being struck by other drivers.
Eliminate distractions. The snow on the ground and cold weather outside your vehicle are concern enough. Don’t make things more difficult by distracting yourself with loud music, texting or distracting passengers. Give the road your full attention and be attentive of other drivers who may not be driving as safe as you. If you must use your phone to contact someone or for directions, consider a hands-free alternative with voice commands so your eyes can remain on the road.
Unfortunately, accidents happen every winter with thousands of injuries and deaths associated simply with poor road and weather conditions. The attorneys at Hupy and Abraham hope that with these few tips in mind you’ll be better equipped to drive in winter storms. But in the unfortunate incident that you or a loved one are injured while driving in inclement weather conditions, please contact our personal injury experts at 800-800-5678 for a free consultation and to ensure that you receive proper compensation for your injuries.