On November 11, 2013 Indianapolis had its first real snowfall of the 2013-2014 season, proving that winter is once again creeping up on us here in the Midwest. This flurry of snow should serve as a strong reminder to drivers to “winterize” their driving habits once again.
Tip #1: Slow Down
As winter bears down upon us, drivers need to prepare for the presence of snow and ice on the roadways. Anticipating slick roads and increasing your available time to respond to conditions will go a long way toward saving yourself from an accident. Remember everything takes longer on slick roadways—slowing, accelerating and turning—so slow down and give yourself extra time to maneuver. For instance, increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds instead of the usual three to four seconds on dry pavement as you maneuver this season.
Tip #2: Try to Minimize Braking
Braking, while obviously unavoidable, can be a dangerous prospect on icy roads. Every time you decelerate for a stop, you risk breaking traction with the roadway and increase your chances of losing control. A better option is to observe traffic flow and stop light patterns and try to maneuver so that you only need to slow your vehicle rather than frequently having to come to a complete stop.
Tip #3: Ensure Visibility
One of the scariest sights I see during the winter months is a car traveling down the interstate at 60+ MPH with its entire windshield iced or fogged over and obscured, except for a small opening right at the bottom of the driver’s side glass. Obviously, this is a driver who did not allow their car enough time to warm up. Rather than allowing enough time for their defrosters to work their magic, this driver has decided to place themselves and everyone else sharing the road at risk just to save a few minutes and avoid properly warming up their car. Don’t be that driver! Instead, always ensure that you have complete visibility through all of your windows before you drive away so that you can see and respond to situations on the roadway. Along these same lines, be sure to clean off your car and lights completely before hitting the road. This allows your headlights to function properly during these dark winter months and also allows other drivers to see your brake lights, turn signals, and running lights so that they aware of your vehicle and its intentions as you drive. Further, it protects other drivers from accumulations of ice and snow flying off your vehicle, causing visibility problems or distractions that could lead to an accident.
Tip #3: Determine Want vs. Need
When the snow is piling up outside, you should really ask yourself, “Do I really need to go out at all?” You might feel that you do initially but carefully assess the risks before making the decision to venture out. After an hour of white knuckle driving just to get somewhere that is typically 15 minutes away, you’ll probably wish you had never left your couch. Even if you have a 4 wheel drive and drive really well on the snow and ice, many do not. So keep those folks in mind as you weigh the decision to go out.
Tip #4: Protect Yourself After the Accident
Despite all of your precautions and careful driving, accidents still happen. It’s just a fact of life. You simply cannot “drive” for everyone else and on the crowded, snow-filled thoroughfares all it takes is one poor driver to ruin everyone’s day. Therefore, should you or a loved one suffer injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence, be sure to consult with the experienced Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys at the offices of James F. Ludlow so that you can protect your rights and obtain the just compensation you deserve. Call toll-free at (877) 897-9466 or submit the simple form on the Contact Us page.