As a car accident and personal injury attorney, my job is to help people understand their legal rights and get fair treatment after a car accident.  Winter driving presents special safety challenges, and accident can be caused by many preventable mistakes.

Here are 10 tips for safe winter driving that could help you avoid an accident:

  1. Check your tires before bad weather hits.  Check your tire treads for wear.  Consider all-weather or even winter/snow tires.  Check the inflation of your tires to make sure it matches the pressure recommended by your car’s manufacturer.  Improper tire inflation affects car handling, tire wear, and fuel economy, so both your safety and wallet are impacted.
  2. Check your antifreeze, wiper blades, and windshield washer fluid.  Avoid engine damage or breakdowns by keeping proper antifreeze levels.  Good windshield wipers and adequate levels of antifreeze windshield washer is needed to keep windows clean and clear
  3. Never drive until all windows are snow and frost free.  Don’t be lazy and just scrape a small spot on the front and rear windows.  Clear all windows, mirrors, headlights and brake lights.
  4. Slow down.  Snow and ice increase stopping distances dramatically, so you need to drive much slower in the winter time.  Remember – the speed limit is the maximum permissible speed assuming ideal road conditions.
  5. Understand the pros and cons of all-wheel drive.  All-wheel drive is a blessing and a curse.  It allows you to keep driving in snow and ice, but remember that all-wheel drive keeps the vehicle moving forward through bad conditions, but does not help with steering or stopping.  Don’t be over confident and drive too fast for conditions just because you can.
  6. Know how to use antilock brakes (ABS).  Before the invention of ABS, we were all taught to pump our brakes to prevent skidding.  Pumping doesn’t work with ABS.  Just push the brake and hold it down and the ABS system will take over.
  7. Beware of holiday parties.  Holding parties means food and drink.  Be sure to have a designated driver.  Drunk driving causes accidents and criminal trouble.
  8. Watch out for black ice, bridges and overpasses.  Black ice is nearly invisible and is incredibly dangerous.  Watch out whenever the temperature is close to or below freezing.  Also remember that bridges and overpasses freeze before normal road surfaces.
  9. Leave extra distance between vehicles.  With snow and ice, increase stopping distances, and add some extra time to the normal three second rule.
  10. Don’t use that new iPhone or Droid while driving.  Recent studies have shown that distracted driving is as dangerous, or even more dangerous, than drunk driving.  Avoid the temptation to talk or text while driving.

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