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These Winter Driving Hacks Can Help Prevent Accidents

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Woman putting chains on her car tires

Drivers can practice safe driving habits that reduce the risk of accidents on the road during the winter season. This time of year is hazardous for both motorists and pedestrians, making it necessary for drivers to do what they can to prevent accidents. Snowy and icy conditions can greatly affect vehicle performance and cause drivers to lose control, but the right preparations will help decrease their chances of getting involved in any type of crash. 

Woman putting chains on her car tires

Winterizing the Vehicle

Before driving comes into play, motorists need to service their vehicle and prepare it for winter. Drivers will benefit from taking their vehicles in for regular maintenance and tune-ups that keep them in good condition all throughout the winter. 

Some of the most important areas of the vehicle to look at will include the vehicle’s wipers, tires, battery, transmission, brakes, and coolant, all of which are often vulnerable to damage when exposed to cold or freezing temperatures. 

Drivers may opt for snow tires, in which case it’s essential to ensure they’re installed on the vehicle before snowfall starts. When snow and ice accumulate on the vehicle throughout the winter, drivers will need to remove it from all windows, headlights, sensors, and cameras to maximize both visibility and performance.

Practicing Safe Driving, Regardless of Season

Although winter can be an especially tricky season for drivers, they can more effectively navigate it when they practice safe driving habits all year long. For example, drivers should always minimize the risk of distractions on the road by avoiding the use of smartphones or other devices when behind the wheel.

Additionally, drivers must make sure that everyone in the vehicle, including themselves and any passengers, wears seat belts for the duration of their ride. Other precautions to implement year-round include never driving while drunk or otherwise intoxicated and always ensuring that children are in child seats of the proper type and size if needed.

Regardless of the season or road conditions, these are practices that every driver should continue throughout the year.

Practicing Extra Caution During Winter

When driving during winter, drivers should avoid faster speeds. Motorists will have a more difficult time attempting to slow down or stop their vehicles, possibly leading to rear end collisions. Turning could also become an issue when snow or ice affects road conditions. Drivers also need to make sure there’s enough space between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them to give ample time and room to come to a full stop if needed. 

When first experiencing snowfall or icy conditions, drivers should take some time to gauge their vehicle’s performance. After three seasons of nicer weather and better driving conditions, drivers may forget how their vehicle handles in the wintertime. 

In addition, drivers should determine how harsh conditions could impact their overall journey. Before heading anywhere, drivers should determine how slower driving will affect their arrival time. Drivers may find that they need to leave earlier than usual, whether commuting to work or heading elsewhere.

Preparing for Emergency Situations

It doesn’t matter how well drivers prepare both themselves and their vehicles—they can still get into auto accidents. Other drivers may not be practicing the same habits and collide with another vehicle, or a vehicle may simply experience mechanical failure. Other conditions could cause even the safest drivers to get involved in a crash.

In the event of these types of emergency situations, motorists should carry plenty of supplies with them at all times. In their vehicles, motorists may want to have jumper cables, flashlights, flares, blankets, and other types of supplies in their vehicles. When traveling for longer periods of time or in more rural areas, drivers should carry a cell phone charger, food, water, and any medications that they or their loved ones require. In addition to helping the vehicle owner, motorists may find that these supplies help another fellow driver in need of them.

If drivers are consistently prepared for any unexpected situations on the road, they’re far less likely to be as inconvenienced by them. Crashes and breakdowns can always occur, making it important to brace for them, particularly during the winter months.

Staying Safe With Cautious Driving and Sufficient Preparation

Although accidents and breakdowns aren’t entirely unavoidable, taking the right steps to prepare can significantly reduce the chances of these experiences. Having vehicles serviced regularly and winterized, practicing generally safe driving habits, and preparing for emergencies can all go a long way in preventing car accidents and subsequent potential injuries

The winter may be particularly unsafe for motorists, but individuals should also remember to drive safely at all times and remain responsible. Doing so will help reduce the risk of accidents not just during the winter, but year-round.

About the Author

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Over 35 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar