Winter without snow just doesn’t seem right to those who aren’t familiar with the very real disruptions a white winter causes. Tourists who have never seen snow before don’t know about icy roads, freezing rain, and staying indoors for days on end. Just one good snow storm can be enough to keep an entire town locked up until conditions improve. Driving turns ordinary people into extreme athletes against their will, since there is nothing exhilarating about maneuvering a 2-ton vehicle on slippery roads. If you cannot escape your commute this winter, you should be familiar with winter best driving practices. You should also know about the top 10 worst winter driving habits and learn to avoid them.
Underestimating reaction time. If there is trouble up ahead, you should be immediately reducing your speed and preparing to lay on the brakes. On slippery winter roads, the stopping distance required to avoid a collision triples.
Exercising caution at intersections. Too often, cross traffic must skid through an intersection without enough time to stop at the appropriate location. When winter hits, intersections require a double or even triple check that the road is clear.
Failing to keep functional brakes. Too many drivers fail to have their brakes inspected before the snow starts falling. Keeping fully functional brakes is crucial to preventing a serious accident. In addition, increasing your following distance three-fold will reduce the necessity to slam on your brakes or make sudden movements that can be disastrous on slippery roads.
Neglecting to maintain tires. Whether you neglect to keep your tires inflated at the right levels or you neglect to get new ones when the old ones are worn down, your tires are what literally keep your vehicle rolling. In fact, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that worn tires account for 200 driving fatalities annually. If you plan on surviving another winter on the roads, properly caring for your tires is of the utmost importance.
Driving like you just watched The Fast and Furious sequence. In the winter months, this can mean driving at or even slightly below the posted speed limits. When visibility is low, there is a lot of snow on the road and the possibility of black ice lurking underneath it, driving at your average speeds is still too fast for the conditions present. Speed is the top culprit in loss of traction and control accidents. Swerving between lanes is also extremely dangerous when roads are slick.
Neglecting to sweep snow off windows, mirrors, and lights. Many who head out on their daily commute during snowy conditions clear off their windows and mirrors before getting into the car, however, this is a small nuisance task you should be doing each time you get in and out of your car. Poor driver visibility is nearly as much to blame as slick roads for serious car accidents.
Neglecting your feelings. If you are feeling tired, drowsy, or fatigued, refrain from operating a motor vehicle. Try public transportation or get a ride from a family member or friend. Winter driving leads to fatigue twice as fast as regular driving, as drivers must exert more energy driving cautiously. If you get tired, take more driving breaks and have a backup plan for long trips.
Failing to notice worsening road conditions. In the winter, you may leave your house on a bright and sunny morning with little snow on the ground and return home during a full on snowfall. These changes can occur rapidly with very little warning. Accidents tend to occur when drivers fail to change their driving to accommodate the new conditions. For the best chances, watch out for weather alerts throughout the day.
Following too closely. Following too closely is dangerous even when conditions are clear. Should the driver in front of you find the need to suddenly hit the brakes hard, you can expect the very real possibility of causing a nasty rear-end collision if you do not follow the 3 second rule for driving distance. On wet or icy roads, this distance should be tripled to severely reduce the possibility of a collision should the unexpected need to stop or slow down arise.
Driving when conditions are just too unsafe. Winter is among the most unpredictable of all seasons. Snowstorms can come in a flash. If you notice that you are starting to feel uncomfortable driving in the snow at any time, it’s a sign that you should put your car in park and get off the streets.
Winter time is a high season for car accidents throughout the Pacific Northwest. If you have been injured in a car or truck accident in Portland, Oregon, RizkLaw can help you pursue your personal injury claim. As a former insurance defender, attorney Richard Rizk knows all the tricks insurance companies have up their sleeves to keep them from paying you a fair settlement. Don’t take the first settlement offer, get an attorney like Rizk on your side today by calling (503) 245-5677.