The polar vortex phenomenon has left many Americans eager for spring to arrive. Unfortunately, a few months of winter remain. It is therefore important for all motorists to refresh their knowledge on how to safely travel over ice and snow. On one day earlier this month, all 50 states experienced freezing temperatures. Therefore, even residents of warmer climates should study up on how to avoid car accidents related to cold weather conditions.
First, you will be much less likely to cause an accident if your vehicle is properly maintained. A startling number of accidents occur after tires have lost proper pressure or are otherwise compromised. As a result, it is important to check your tires regularly. It is also important to ensure that your brakes, lights, battery and exhaust system are in proper working order. Failure to do so could either cause accidents or make the consequences of unavoidable accidents worse for you and your passengers.
Second, make sure that you thoroughly remove any ice, snow or frost from your windows before operating your vehicle. Even a minimally reduced capacity to view the world clearly while driving can impact your ability to drive safely.
Finally, make sound judgments about driving in general. Do not drive while drowsy, drunk, drugged, distracted or overly agitated. These always-dangerous behaviors can be even more hazardous when combined with winter weather conditions. In addition, avoid speeding, cutting other drivers off and other aggressive driving maneuvers. You and/or other motorists may hit patches of ice and spin out of control or slam into one another simply because you are driving too aggressively for conditions.
Source: AAA, “How to Go on Ice and Snow,” Dec. 2012