Winter in the Northeast is in full swing. The Pennsylvania car accident attorneys at Marcus and Mack want you to stay safe when driving during the snowy and icy conditions that come with the season. AAA recently put out a list of tips for driving safely throughout the winter. Here are some of those tips to stay safe on the roads this year.
When driving in the winter:
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated and your gas tank is always at least half full. If your tires are not properly inflated, that can make driving in the snow much more difficult due to loss of traction. Without an adequate amount of fuel, gas lines can freeze when temperatures dip below normal.
- When possible, do not use your parking brake during inclement weather. The gears on a parking brake can freeze up and make it that much more difficult to get started in the morning.
- Keep cruise control off when dealing with snow and ice. You must remain in control of the car at all times, especially when the roads are unpredictable. Cruise control can sometimes cause your wheels to spin, increasing the likelihood of losing control of your vehicle.
- Go slowly. Everything takes more time during and after inclement winter weather. Factor in time to dig your car out of the snow, clear your windshield of ice and properly warm up your vehicle. On slick, snowy roads, accelerate and decelerate slowly and allow plenty of space between yourself and the car in front of you.
- Don’t come to a complete stop if you can avoid it. It’s much harder to get a car to pick up speed if it’s reached a full stop on a snowy road, especially if you're driving up a hill.
When driving long distances in the winter:
- Check weather reports before you leave. If you know a snowstorm is coming, you can take precautions to avoid getting caught in it. If you can, it's best to avoid driving in the storm altogether.
- Make sure your car is travel-ready. This is a good tip for any long-distance travel, but especially during long car trips in the winter. You do not want to get stranded on snowy roads, if you can avoid it.
- Bring the right gear. Have an extra blanket and other winter gear, first aid kit, flashlight, working cell phone and any medications in case you do become snowbound.
In the event that you get stuck in the snow:
- Don’t panic. Contact AAA or a local authority for help.
- Stay in your car while you wait for help. If you are stuck in the snow, stay inside your vehicle. Keep the car on only long enough to keep you warm and then turn it off to conserve gasoline. Use your blankets and other winter clothes to stay warm while waiting for help.
- Do what you can to stay visible to rescuers. Tie a piece of cloth to your antenna and keep your dome light on at night. This will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
- Make sure that the exhaust pipe is clear. If your exhaust pipe is clogged with snow or ice and the engine is running, it could cause carbon monoxide to travel backward into your car, which could have fatal consequences.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident during this winter season, contact an experienced Pennsylvania auto accident attorney who can discuss your options.