Winter driving can be challenging for Ohio drivers, even those with lots of experience. Freezing temperatures, frequent snow and icy roads are normal hazards. Even the most seasoned driver can be involved in an accident due to winter weather conditions.
This year, the almanac predicts that Ohio will receive more snow than usual and experience some harsh weather, particularly during the beginning of 2020. Fortunately, you can minimize your risk of accidents by taking some simple precautionary steps.
Properly inflated tires grip the road better and last longer than under-inflated ones. If your tires have worn tread, they will be prone to skidding when roads are slick. If possible, invest in tires that are made specifically for winter driving or buy a set of superior all-season tires.
When the cold set in, tire pressure drops, so don’t ignore your car’s warning light. Pump up your tires to the recommended pressure in your driver’s manual.
Speeding is one of the biggest causes of winter driving accidents, largely because drivers refuse to adjust their speed for the current driving conditions. Snow-packed roads call for a major reduction in speed, one that fits your vehicle. You shouldn’t try and compete with a four-wheel drive vehicle’s speed if you are operating a two-wheel drive car. There is no single safe speed for poor winter driving conditions. Instead, you’ll need to slow down enough to keep maximum tire traction. You will also have to allow for possible black ice and slick overpasses.
Safe Following Distance
As an Ohio driver, you’ve probably seen multiple wintertime accidents, including those caused by following too closely. Braking on slick surfaces requires far more distance than it does on dry pavement. Cars going 35 mph on dry pavement can require up to 97 feet for the driver to brake and the car to stop. That distance can double on wet pavement, triple on snow-packed roads and be multiplied by ten on icy roads. Experienced drivers, particularly during the first snows of the season, can forget this fact and plow into other vehicles or end up in a ditch.
Drivers are often in a hurry, particularly when they are headed to work in the morning. That’s why you may not do an adequate job of cleaning the snow and ice from your vehicle after a storm. You should take the time to thoroughly scrape and defrost your front and rear windshields. You need to remove the snow from your headlights and brake lights and sweep off any build-up on your bumpers. Don’t forget to brush the snow off the top of your car as well as the hood and the trunk. If you don’t, the snow can easily break free and block your view or the view of a nearby driver. It’s better to be ten minutes late to work than to be involved in an accident.
Ohio drivers enjoy long stretches of beautiful rural countryside. If you are in a winter accident or have car trouble in these areas, you could be stranded for hours. To protect yourself from the cold and hasten your rescue, you should have the following packed in your car:
- Flares to signal your distress
- Road cone
- Several flashlights and spare batteries
- Multiple blankets
- Bottled water
- Phone Charger
While a cell phone can usually summon help, you may lose the signal during a storm. If you are stranded for any period of time, your phone may die. You need multiple ways to summon help. Most importantly, you need to stay warm to avoid hypothermia, which can strike quickly in Ohio’s frigid winter temperatures.
5 Helpful Winter Driving Tips
One of the most important considerations you can make in this cold weather is to stay safe on the road, know how to drive in snow, and take caution when driving on ice.
These winter driving tips exist to keep you safe, so make sure to take this into consideration before you head out in the unbearable cold!
- Leave up to three times the amount of normal space you would leave between you and the car in front of you when driving on ice to give plenty of stoppage time.
- Remember to brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, take your foot off the brake.
- Turning on your lights and ensuring the windshield is clear with plenty of washer fluid to continue to clear it are simple, yet highly important tips for driving in the snow.
- Frequently traveled roads, bridges, and overpasses are the roads that will freeze over first. Take extra caution when driving along these roads.
- Finally, don’t assume your vehicle can handle all winter weather conditions on its own. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble when driving in snow and ice.
Expert Legal Help
Thousands of Ohio drivers are involved in winter traffic accidents each year. These safe driving tips may prevent you from causing an accident, but you cannot make other motorists drive safely. What would be a small fender bender in July can turn into a major collision in January. If you are the victim of a winter accident, you can sustain serious, long-term injuries that may damage your quality of life.
Anytime you are the victim of a traffic accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury law firm. In Ohio, that means Friedman, Domiano & Smith Co., LPA. They are experts in getting you the compensation you deserve when you’ve been in a winter accident. Visit their website for more information and take advantage of their Live Chat option.
This winter may be a tough one in Ohio. Avoid driving in snow and ice whenever possible, and drive safely when you do have to hit the road.