This past weekend, Marylanders received a winter storm warning because of heavy snow and wind conditions. While Maryland drivers are not strangers to snow, ice, and other winter weather situations, even experienced drivers should exercise caution when driving as about 21% of vehicle crashes are weather-related.
Tips for Traveling Safely in Winter Weather
While it would be best for you to postpone any travel, if you must drive, you can take steps to prepare yourself and your vehicle for the winter weather as well as a possible emergency, including:
- Schedule routine maintenance appointments. This is really a year-round safety tip as maintenance appointments ensure your car is road safe. However, in the winter, you should pay special attention to your tires, lights, windshield and wipers, and cooling system.
- Stock your car with necessities. You can put the following items in your car: flashlights, blankets, emergency lights, jumper cables, food, water, a portable phone charger, an ice scraper, a first-aid kit, and sand or cat litter (which can help with vehicle traction).
- Keep your gas tank half-full or more. If you do stop or the vehicle stalls, the more gas you have the longer you can benefit from your car’s heater. This will also help eliminate your need to stop for gas at inopportune times (i.e. when conditions are at their worst).
- Consider your driving route before leaving. Listen to the news and any updates about road conditions and closures. Staying informed of roads with fallen trees, downed powerlines, or other hazards can help you plan what roads you will travel on.
- Drive slowly. Speeding is never a good idea, especially with snow and ice involved.
- Give cars in front of you a wide berth. If the car in front of you skids or has to stop suddenly, you will also have time to respond if you’ve left enough space between your vehicles.
If your vehicle stalls or you must stop, be sure to:
- Remain in your vehicle while you await help. Staying in your vehicle can help rescuers locate you safely. Also, leaving your car presents its own dangers if you cannot see a building nearby or other drivers cannot see you (as it is dark or heavily snowing).
- Don’t overrun the engine or heater. While you may want to keep the car running, you should consider cutting the car off periodically to conserve your gas and protect the car’s engine.
General Driving Safety Tips
It is important to ensure you are driving safely no matter the weather conditions. When you operate and drive a vehicle, you have a duty of care to the other drivers as well as pedestrians and cyclists on the roadways. To protect yourself and others, you should:
- Stay informed of recalls. If your vehicle has a safety issue and a part has been recalled, your dealership should inform you. You can also stay abreast of updates by utilizing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recall research tool. Being aware of recalls can ensure you get needed repairs done. Repairs related to recalls are typically free.
- Eliminate distractions. Driving distracted can have a variety of consequences, and a well-known safe driving tip is to not text and drive. You should also cut down on distractions by reminding your passengers to not divide your attention and not engaging in other activities (like eating, applying makeup, or looking down to change the song/playlist).
- Obey the rules of the road. Speeding, not adhering to stop signs or traffic signals, and other unsafe driving practices can lead to accidents and liability in a lawsuit.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys
If you are involved in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence (i.e. unsafe driving practices like speeding, distracted driving, etc.), you should:
- Call 911 immediately.
- Get the names and information of all parties involved.
- Take photos and document any damaged property and/or any injuries (if you are able).
- Receive medical attention (even if you feel fine).
- Contact our experienced attorneys.
Once you retain our attorneys, we can help you:
- Investigate the cause of the accident
- Establish liability
- Calculate the damages you may be owed
- File a personal injury claim
At Skipper Law, LLC, we can work tirelessly to ensure that you receive a favorable case outcome. Known for being knowledgeable advocates for our clients, you can trust our legal team to work with your best interest in mind.Schedule a consultation today by reaching out online or giving us a call (410) 919-2121.