Winter Driving Tips: How to Remain Safe in Cold Weather

As we move into the cold winter months, you may have a lot on your mind. There are Christmas gifts to buy, parties to attend, foods to cook and winter vacations to enjoy. However, along with all of the festivities, winter also brings something that most of us fail to think about: Danger on the road. When the weather outside is bad, you will need to adjust your driving habits in order to remain safe.

1. Stay Home or Leave Early
The absolute best thing you can do to keep yourself safe during bad weather is to avoid driving in the first place. If staying home isn't possible, be sure to leave the house much earlier than you normally would. This way, you can allow extra time during your drive. Keeping a slow and steady pace is much better than having an accident.

2. Avoid Black Ice
Black ice occurs when an invisible sheet of ice forms over the surface of the road. Accident lawyers from all over the country will tell you, black ice is the cause of many serious winter accidents. Keep an eye on your local weather and traffic reports, as these can be valuable resources when it comes to alerting you about areas where black ice is forming. Also, always take extra precautions when driving over bridges, as ice tends to form there faster than it does on the ground.

3. Be Mindful of Other Drivers
It should go without saying that you should always keep an eye out for other drivers, bad weather or not. However, when snow or ice is present, this rule is more important than ever. Always watch your surroundings and be sure to keep some distance between yourself and the car in front of you. Never look at your cell phone, check your makeup in the mirror or perform any other distracting activities while driving.

4. Know What to Do if You Lose Control

Most winter accidents are caused by drivers hitting their brakes too fast and going into a skid. If you find yourself in this situation, do not panic. Take your foot off of the gas pedal and slowly steer the car in the direction you want it to go. Be careful not to over correct, as this will likely make the situation worse. The same goes for slamming on the brakes. If you absolutely can't stop the car, slowly steer away from oncoming traffic and toward the side of the road until you come to a stop. 

5. Keep Emergency Items in the Car
No matter how careful you are, there may come a time when you get stuck somewhere. For this reason, you should always carry emergency items with you while traveling during the winter. A fully-charged cell phone, first aid supplies, emergency flares, drinking water, snacks and cold-weather clothing are all very important. It's also a good idea to fill the gas tank often during the cold months. That way, if you do become stranded and the car still works, you can run the heater to keep warm.

Winter weather is a real threat that could potentially endanger you while on the road, and it is important to take it seriously. However, if you watch what you're doing and are mindful of your surroundings, you can help to ensure that you remain safe until the spring arrives again.

Legal researcher Shelby Warden contributes this article for those who will be driving on the roads this winter. The accident lawyers at Steinger, Iscoe Greene in Florida have been representing clients injured in car accidents due to dangerous road conditions since 1997. With a team of 26 lawyers, they have the experience and resources necessary to fight for you regardless of whether you’re accident was due to hazardous road conditions or the negligence of another driver.
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