Careless driving can cause accidents any time of the year. However, winter weather brings its own special hazards that oftenn need an extra degreee of alertness and preparedness to navigate safely.
Winter weather can make your drive more dangerofus in several ways. In addition to preparing your vehicle, preparing yourself mentally can help you stay safe on the road.
Snow, sleet, heavy rain and fog can all severely decrease visibility. On the road, you need to make sure you see what is happening around you and that other motorists can see your vehicle. This means clearing snow from your windows, headlights and tail lights. Even if you are in a hurry, avoid taking shortcuts, such as clearing only a small space on your windshield. This will not give you the range of vision you need.
Handling slippery roads
The other major hazard you are likely to encounter in wintertime is the slipperiness you can expect on any road surface. Snow can mask underlying ice; in other situations, you may not see black ice in front of you. To reduce risks, increase your following distance; stopping distance can rise by as much as nine times in icy conditions. Therefore, it is also a good idea to reduce your normal speed.
Avoid making sharp turns or braking suddenly, as that can cause your car to skid. Depending on whether your car has anti-lock brakes, learn the correct technique for slowing your car while retaining control.
Remember that danger can arise suddenly. Make an extra effort to avoid distraction on the road. Phone use, while always a hazard, can have particularly severe consequences in bad weather conditions that can hamper visibility and the ability to control your vehicle.
Failing to take precautions may be negligent
While winter weather can present dangers, in most cases, drivers are able to foresee and adapt to hazards with some care and planning. This means failing to take weather conditions into account may be negligent in the event of an accident.