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Winter Driving 101

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — or is it? When you’re traveling on the road, snow and ice can threaten the safety of yourself and others throughout the colder months. It’s important to be aware of all the potential risks winter weather poses to you as a driver.

It’s even more important to be aware of the techniques you can use to keep yourself safe when driving in wintry conditions. Read below for some useful winter driving tips.

 

1. Slow down 

It might seem obvious, but it’s effective. In anticipation of last year’s polar vortex, USA Today named vehicles with four-wheel drive, high ground clearance and rugged winter tires made of extra-flexible materials as the best cars for winter driving. Even if your car is tricked out with the latest anti-snow technology, slowing down is still your best bet to avoid accidents in harsh weather.

Though the rule for a safe following distance is 3 to 4 seconds on a bright, sunny day, this rule changes when you factor in snow, ice and low visibility. A following distance of 8 to 10 seconds should be maintained when driving in wintry conditions.

 

2. Be prepared for the worst

Keep emergency supplies somewhere safe and dry in your vehicle. You could purchase a pre-made kit or put one together yourself. Consumer Reports notes that kits usually include:

  • Ice scrapers
  • First-aid kit
  • Battery cables or a portable jump-starter
  • Flashlight
  • Portable phone charger
  • Blankets and gloves
  • Bottled water and nonperishable food items

These supplies can be changed based on your personal needs. In the event of an accident or other means of getting stranded, you’ll be able to free yourself, stay warm and avoid hunger.

 

3. Remove ice from your car

Once you’ve scraped enough ice off of your vehicle that you can see the road, it’s easy to think you can start driving.

However, not only is leaving snow and ice on your car illegal in Pennsylvania, but that same snow and ice also has the potential to fall or fly off of your vehicle. This could injure pedestrians, cause accidents and mean you have a price to pay as the driver.

The impact on public safety and possible loss of life involved, are significant consequences for not taking the few minutes to clear your vehicle before leaving. Do not take the risk.

 

4. Watch for deer life

Everyone’s favorite woodland creature often proves dangerous, even deadly, in the colder months.

Because of food scarcity and higher mating drives, deer are more likely to wander onto the road during the fall and winter seasons. To avoid collisions with deer and surrounding drivers:

  • Slow down
  • Do not swerve to avoid the deer; you might end up hitting another vehicle, damaging property or running off the road
  • Use high beams at night to search for eye shine if there is no other traffic
  • Keep in mind that deer often travel together — if you’ve seen one, there might be more

Collision coverage, which covers your vehicle if it’s sustained damage in an incident with another vehicle, will not cover accidents involving deer. Comprehensive coverage adds to your vehicle coverage for various scenarios, including theft, fire and deer collisions.

These winter driving tips will help to protect yourself, your loved ones and other drivers this winter. If a winter driving accident does occur, a personal injury attorney can help. Contact Stock and Leader’s Personal Injury team today.

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