Winter is some Virginians’ favorite time of year, bringing snow, holiday memories, and occasionally a day off of school or work. Unfortunately, states with snowfall also see a significant increase in car accidents in the winter months. As a driver, how can you keep yourself and your family safe? You obviously can’t avoid going out for three months or control how others drive, but you can remember some simple tips to lower your risk of an accident.
If you are hurt in a winter crash, it’s time to talk to the Manassas car accident attorneys at Olmstead & Olmstead. Call us at 703-260-8752 to set up a consultation now.
Stay Up-to-Date on the Weather
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to stay abreast of weather changes. That doesn’t mean obsessively checking your weather app in the days and weeks leading up to a big trip, but it does mean occasionally checking the forecast so you’re aware of any major storms moving in. As you get ready to plan the details of your trip, you can check the forecast to determine when it’s safest to hit the road. In addition to the general weather forecast, watch out for advisory alerts. These alerts are put out by the government and they can help you prepare for ice storms and other inclement weather.
Keep Your Vehicle Ready
Winterizing your vehicle should be a top priority as you approach the winter months. You don’t want to find out that your car isn’t winter-ready when you break down on the freeway at night. Have a mechanic check your vehicle’s antifreeze, the tread on your tires, and the life left on your battery. If you do a lot of driving in the winter, you may want to switch completely to winter tires until the last snow of the season has passed.
Don’t forget to check your lights and wipers throughout the season. Too many people don’t realize that a light has gone out until they are flagged down by someone on the highway. Even worse, they may not know that their wipers are dull until it starts snowing and they can’t get the snow off of their windshield. Once a week or so, check your lights by flashing them on your garage door to make sure they’re functioning.
Review Safe Driving Practices
No matter how many winters you’ve made it through, it’s always important to review safe driving practices for the winter months. Many winter crashes happen during the first snow of the season—people forget how much they have to slow down and how much longer it takes their car to stop. Reduce your speed and increase your following distance to account for the slick roads and the buildup of snow you’re likely to encounter.
If you drive a manual car, use lower gears to improve your vehicle’s traction. When you need to turn or swerve to avoid an obstacle, take your time. Abrupt maneuvers can cause your car to spin out and cause an accident. When in doubt, start slower than you think you should—you can always speed up once you get comfortable. To minimize the risk of unsafe driving, give yourself extra time while leaving.
Be Ready for Anything
Expecting the unexpected is a key part of staying safe in winter. You may never expect to end up broken down by the side of the road, but it happens to thousands of people every year. You may not ever expect to run out of gas, but mistakes happen when you least expect them. Carry an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. It should have a flashlight and backup batteries, non-perishable food, blankets, a first aid kit, and water. You may also want to add a charged portable power bank.
Any time you are planning on leaving the house, ensure that your phone is charged. Even if it’s a short trip, you could be away from your charger for hours if you’re involved in a crash—and then it will be even more important to have a charged phone.
Injured in a Winter Crash? Contact Olmstead & Olmstead Now
If you are injured by a reckless driver this winter season, find out if you’re owed compensation. Contact Olmstead & Olmstead online or call us at 703-260-8752 to schedule a consultation now.