The holiday season is upon us and with it comes winter weather. Each year throughout the country and the Kansas City area, numerous motorists and pedestrians are injured in traffic accidents during the winter. Many of these accidents are caused in part by unsafe conditions on public roadways, including rain, snow, and ice. Whether you and your loved ones are planning a long trip for the holidays or will be simply going out and about, it's important to make safety a top priority.
Being prepared for winter weather is the best strategy for staying safe. Whatever your plans may be, experts recommend that you take the time to ensure you and your vehicle are read for inclement weather:
- Your Car - It's best to give your car a checkup to ensure its winter ready. Check your tires, defrosters, headlights and taillights, turn signals, and windshield wipers. You can also check antifreeze levels and make sue to put no-freeze fluid in the windshield washer reservoir. You should also make sure your vehicle has at least half a tank of gas at all times.
- Yourself - You can prepare yourself for winter driving by practicing in an open lot on wet or icy roads, especially if you have a teen driver. Also make sure that you pack essential winter driving gear, including a flashlight, jumper cables, blankets, and ice scrapers or kitty litter / sand if you plan on driving in the snow. It's also best to prepare and plan for emergencies. Know what to do if your car stalls and keep a cell phone nearby.
Safe Driving Habits
Remember winter roads are much more dangerous than they are at other times of the year, so take extra precautions whenever you drive.
- Slow Down - Give yourself time to get where you need to go, because you will want to slow down when it's raining or when snow or ice is on the road.
- Increase the Space - Increase your following distance when there's bad weather outside. It takes longer to slow down and stop, so experts suggest that you double or even triple the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. You should also give yourself plenty of time to slow down when approaching an intersection.
- Know What to Do - If you do get caught in a skid, know how to react. Turn your wheels in the direction you want to go. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm and constant pressure on the brake pedal. If you don't have anti-lock brakes, release your foot from the brake and gently re-apply.
- Be Safe - The risks for accidents increase in bad weather, so do whatever you can to be on top of your game. Drink responsibly or plan for a ride - this time of year sees a lot of alcohol-involved accidents due to holiday celebrations. Also make sure you get plenty of sleep and obey the rules of the road.
Montee Law Firm hopes that these simple tips will help keep you safe. We know, however, that bad weather and unsafe drivers can place innocent motorists at risk of suffering harm during preventable accidents. If you have questions about your rights after an auto accident, contact a Kansas City car accident attorney from our firm for a free case evaluation.