Staying Safe on the Road During Frightful Winter Weather
Driving in winter can be dangerous, especially in Michigan, which sees significant snowfall every year. In January 2022, over 26,000 motor vehicle accidents happened in Michigan, 82 of which involved one or more fatalities. That year, 22,105 crashes occurred when snow was on the road, and another 14,831 happened when ice was present.
4 Tips for Safe Winter Driving
The combination of freezing precipitation, slick roads, and anxious drivers create dangerous conditions for motorists who take to the roads. You cannot control the weather or how other drivers will react to it. All you can do to protect yourself is to exercise good judgment and follow safety tips such as these:
1. Only Travel During Inclement Weather if You Must Do So
The best way to avoid being hurt in a winter-weather motor vehicle accident is to stay off the road when the weather gets bad. Listen to local weather reports to stay informed of an approaching storm’s path and impact. Plan ahead by stocking up on essentials and wait until the weather passes and crews can clear the roads before venturing out.
2. Make Sure Your Car Is Equipped for the Weather
Your vehicle’s tires, windshield wipers, and other safety equipment should be in good repair ahead of any winter weather. Make sure to keep an emergency kit in your car that has items such as:
- Road flares or highly visible markers
- Blankets, extra clothing, or ways to stay warm
- Food, water, and essential medications
- Backup battery power for cell phones, if possible
- A shovel to help clear snow away from your exhaust pipe if you become stranded
There are other emergency items that you should consider having in your vehicle as well. These include deicing agents, a spare tire, and extra windshield wiper fluid.
3. Drive Slowly
If you must drive when the roads are slippery with snow or ice, leave early and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. While on the road, adjust your speed according to traffic volume and road conditions. Do not make any sudden or abrupt maneuvers, as these can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
4. Give Yourself Plenty of Space
Avoid following other vehicles too closely and control your speed. Even if the speed limit on a given road is high, state laws require drivers to reduce their speed as needed to account for road and weather conditions. Wet and slippery road conditions increase the amount of time you need to stop your car safely. Putting extra space between you and other vehicles also helps reduce the chance of a multi-car accident if you or someone else loses control of their vehicle.
What to Do if Someone Causes a Winter Accident
If you are involved in a crash caused by someone else and you can safely drive your vehicle away from other traffic, you should do so. Call for emergency assistance if you or any other person is injured or stranded and cannot drive your vehicle.
These tips, coupled with common sense and caution, can help you avoid winter accidents and get help when a collision is unavoidable.
If you are hurt, get medical attention and contact a Michigan car accident attorney to discuss obtaining compensation for your injuries. At Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, we’re here to help you. Reach out to schedule a free consultation today.