Winter is here, that means sleigh bells jingling and winter tires and slippery driving conditions. How can you avoid an accident during the most festive time of the year? Follow these simple winter driving safety tips:
Prepare your vehicle for the season
“Winter is coming,” and when the cold weather arrives don’t neglect to prepare your vehicle for the winter season. It’s best to get your car ready a few weeks before the snow begins to fall to prevent putting your life and others in danger.
Winter tires are not a marketing gimmick, they’re scientifically engineered and tested for safety on snowy roads. They have deeper grooves to grip icy conditions and more surface area to keep you firmly on the road. All season or summer tires’ treads are not as deep and they aren’t designed to handle the freezing cold and harsh conditions of the Canadian winter.
You should also keep an ice scraper and brush in your car at all times. Visibility is more important in winter than in summer as conditions worsen, and you’ll find it difficult to check your blind spots when all you can see is snow and ice.
It is also worth carrying other emergency items in your trunk including a shovel, gravel and sand, jumper cables, a flashlight, and a blanket. It’s also a good idea to keep an extra container of gas for emergency situations with family or friends contact information at hand.
Daily winter tools
Having a scraper and shovel doesn’t mean much unless you are willing to use them. Before each trip ensure you have full visibility through your windshield, back and side windows, and mirrors. Clean off all snow and ice completely to maximize your safety.
Drive smoothly. Don’t tailgate.
During winter, slow and steady wins the race. Constantly accelerating and quickly slamming on the brakes is not considered safe driving practices; it’s especially dangerous during the winter. Tailgating is also a hazardous form of driving any time of the year, you’re putting yourself and others at a higher risk for a collision. Leave plenty of space and give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination – it’s worth the wait.
Keep your lights on
During snow storms and dark overcast days, it’s highly important to keep your lights. Snow, rain and grey skies impair your and others’ visibility. Keep your vehicle lights on to help you see oncoming vehicles and obstacles, and other drivers are able to view you as well.
Don’t pump the brakes
Anyone over a certain age remembers a time when standard vehicles did not include ABS (anti-lock brakes). Back then pumping the brakes were supposed to stop your vehicle from locking and sending you into a skid. Today ABS systems do the work for you so don’t bother pumping the brakes – you’ll do more harm than good.
What to do if you are in an accident
If you are in a winter driving accident then there are some steps that you should take:
- If damage is minimal and you can keep driving, then wait to pull over at a safe location and put on your hazard lights. If it is safe to exit your car, make sure you can walk away from the road. If it is unsafe to leave your vehicle then remain inside with your seatbelt on and your doors closed.
- Always report the collision. If you fail to report even a small collision and the other party does, then the police will only an account of events and report based on their description.
- Seek immediate medical assistance if needed. Do not exclude any details when recalling your injuries to your insurance company – small injuries can lead to bigger problems.
- Call your insurance company immediately to file a claim.
- Visit your doctor after the accident with any complaints and injuries related to the accident, no matter how small they may seem.
- Speak to a personal injury lawyer to help you understand your rights and compensation you can seek based on your winter driving accident.
If you’ve sustained injuries, can’t work due to disability, or have other concerns arising from your winter driving accident. It’s always best to stay informed and know your rights. Contact Zayouna Law for a free consultation with our expert team of personal injury lawyers.