We officially entered autumn, but that means winter weather is approaching quickly in the mountain west. As road conditions become hazardous in wintery conditions, accidents can be more likely, also involving multiple vehicles.
Here are 8 tips to help you prepare for winter driving.
- Check your tires - Make sure you have winter tires for wet and icy Utah roads. Check the tire tread and tire pressure.
Winter tires are made from special rubber compounds that deliver superior traction on snow, ice and slush to even the best all-season tires, explains Gene Petersen in an article for Consumer Reports. An initial investment upfront, winter tires are an easy way to get a dramatic improvement of your car's performance in the snow — and to gain confidence behind the wheel.
- Check brakes lights, battery, fluid levels and seatbelts – You might not be able to control the weather or road conditions, but you can make sure that your vehicle is properly working and maintained.
- Remove ice and snow prior to driving your vehicle – This should be commonsense, but it happens more often than it should. It is absolutely crucial to clear snow and ice from your windshields and wipers for visibility and clean wheel wells so your tires can maneuver properly.
- Plan your route – Prior to taking a long trip and in addition to checking your vehicle, plan your route and potential alternative routes. Consider weather, road conditions, and potential for high traffic areas. Inform others of your travel plans and expected time of arrival.
- Reduce your speed – The Utah Highway Patrol reports that driving too quickly is the main cause of winter crashes. When the road conditions are wet, snowy or icy, you should drive under the speed limit.
- Create distance – Increase your following distance and use extra caution when changing lanes. Give yourself more time to merge and prepare for turns and stops. Accelerate slowly, brake gently and don’t turn too quickly.
- Read the road – Stay observant. Look for hazards and obstructions that could affect your tire traction. Watch for black ice as these patches of ice look more wet than icy. Bridges freeze first, so while the roadway might be wet, the bridge may be icy. Use caution and create distance.
- Don’t use cruise control – Probably one of the most important safety tips, but using cruise control in bad weather or when road surfaces or conditions are changing constantly is very dangerous. Using cruise control on icy roads can lower the system’s ability to maintain a constant speed of the vehicle. Besides this, on very low-traction surfaces, cruise control can also lead to skids and spins.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list, these tips are important for contributing to yours and others safety. Despite best efforts and safe driving practices, auto accidents still happen. If you’ve been involved in a winter accident, call McMullin Injury Law. Our attorneys can help you no matter the severity of your accident or injuries. Call our office to schedule a free consultation.