Tips for Driving in Winter Weather

Cars driving on snowy rural road

You never know what to expect with Ohio winters — sometimes snow, sometimes rain, or even worse, ice. As this year’s winter weather draws near, it’s critical for drivers to keep these tips in mind before driving on snow and ice.

Before You Travel

There are steps drivers can take to ensure they have the best travel experience possible, especially if winter weather is forecasted.

Full Tank or Fully Charged

For vehicles that use only gas — having a near-full tank is critical in colder months. If your tank is less than ¼ full, these potential problems could arise:

  • Gelled fuel — this is when components of the gasoline separate and can damage your vehicle.
  • Frozen tank or line — While your gas may not freeze, water vapor or condensation could result in your tank or gas line freezing. The alcohol in gasoline will absorb water, but if you don’t have enough gas (and therefore alcohol), then that moisture will not be absorbed.
  • Inaccurate meter — just because your gas meter says you have so much fuel or so many miles left, that may not be accurate during the wintertime. If you rely solely on your meter, you could be misguided about how much fuel you have left and end up stranded if you don’t have enough fuel in your tank.
  • 100% charge — for electric or hybrid vehicles, it’s crucial to have a full battery. It’s recommended to preheat the interior of the vehicle before unplugging it in the morning.

While On the Road

Slick streets can be detrimental for even experienced drivers. If the streets are wet, iced, or covered in snow, keep the following in mind:

  • Drive slow — it may seem like common sense, but many drivers feel they can still go at or above the normal speed limit in unfavorable conditions. To be as safe as possible, drivers can be in the far right lane, driving at a speed they’re comfortable with (which may be below the speed limit), and keep a reasonable distance from other vehicles.
  • Leave ahead of time — don’t expect to leave at the time you normally walk at the door if streets are slick. No one enjoys getting up early, but you will give yourself plenty of time to drive slow and at your safest if you set your alarm a few minutes early.
  • Brake check — were your brakes recently replaced, or are you potentially in need of a replacement? It’s important for drivers to know the condition of their brakes, especially during the winter months. If a driver has to a sudden stop and their brakes aren’t in fair condition, it could result in a potential accident.
  • Tire check, too — tires are critical for staying safe on the road, no matter the weather conditions. If your tire tread is less than 2/32 of an inch, it is probably time to invest in new tires.
  • See the light — we know it’s an Ohio law to have your headlights on if your windshield wipers are on. That means if it’s raining or sleeting outside, make sure your headlights are on. Too, because it’s getting staying darker long, having your headlights on may make it easier to see the road ahead even during cloudy conditions. If you feel having your headlights on will help you see the road better, turn them on.
  • Skidding — this is a horrible feeling for any driver - not having control of your vehicle. If you are skidding, remove your foot from the accelerator and turn your steering wheel in the direction your front tires are going. If you have anti-lock brakes, gently apply pressure (or if you have standard brakes, pump them). If you still don’t have control of your vehicle, focus on slowing down - guide your car to the safest spot available (focus on the sides of roads).

What if I Was Injured By a Driver in Winter Weather?

Drivers traveling during winter weather aren’t usually on the road intending to cause an accident. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held accountable if you were injured in an accident like this.

The experienced attorneys at The Attkisson Law Firm are here for you if you got hurt during a winter weather accident. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients and will work hard for you as well. Reach out today for a free consultation — either in-person or online. Contact us to set that up here.

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