Tips for driving in cold weather

When driving in winter-like conditions, it is important to watch for snow plows, drive for the conditions and get the vehicle ready for travel.

The wide range of weather in New York means drivers have to know how to handle vehicles in different weather conditions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1,235,000 vehicle crashes over the course of a single year are related to some type of adverse weather. Winter conditions, such as slushy pavement, ice patches and snow fall, lead to 47 percent of the weather-related accidents. Vehicle operators need to drive carefully in these conditions to avoid getting in a crash that could lead to a serious injury.

Watch for snow plows

Snow plows may be predominant during the cold weather months. Because these vehicles travel slowly, make sudden turns and overlap lanes, they may cause cars on the road to get into crashes. Drivers should avoid traveling next to or too close behind snow plows because they can cause a cloud of snow to shoot into the air, which can reduce a person's visibility. Those on the road should always avoid driving into a cloud of snow because it can conceal potential hazards.

Drive for the conditions

Snow and ice can change the terrain of a road significantly. The entire surface of the road tends to be more slippery, which can make it harder to stop, start and turn. While a speed limit may say a person can travel at a certain speed, the roads may be too slippery to safely drive this fast. Vehicle operators should consider driving slowly to increase the safety. It is also important for a person to keep a greater distance between his or her vehicle and the other cars on the road.

Get the vehicle ready

Before heading out the road in cold weather, drivers should make sure their vehicle is ready to make the trip. While car break downs are never ideal, they can be even more detrimental during cold weather. Car owners should check various elements of their vehicle before cold weather hits and again before heading out on a long trip, including the following:

  • Tires
  • Battery
  • Cooling system
  • Defrost
  • Windshield wipers

Drivers should also make sure their lights are working properly because these can help them see the road, but they can also ensure others on the road can see them even if it is snowing. Being prepared for any eventuality can make everyone safer and help avoid fatal accidents.

New York residents need to know how to drive in a wide range of weather conditions, or they could end up getting in a car accident. Even if weather does not have a role in a traffic incident, it may still be beneficial for a person involved in a crash to work with an attorney who is familiar with this type of personal injury case.