Winter is, for many, the happiest season of all – enjoying the holiday season with loved ones, taking some much needed time off of work, etc. As an Albuquerque car accident attorney, I want you to be as safe as possible during this time full of joy yet, unfortunately, also known for fatal car accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Academy, car accidents are the number one cause of death during winter storms. Let’s review some tips to keep you and your family safe this winter.
Before heading out of the house or office, check for traffic announcements. The radio and many free apps (try Waze) will alert you to road conditions, road closures, and accidents. This will allow you to better plan your route. Keep in mind that bridges and overpasses will freeze first. If possible, seek an alternative route.
While driving, keep a greater-than-normal distance between you and the car in front of you, as stopping distances are longer when roads are covered with snow and ice. Keep your headlights on for safety and avoid using cruise control. If children are in route with you, it is safest to seat them in the back and, of course, buckle up!
You’ve done all of this and, suddenly, you begin to slide on ice. What should you do? It’s a natural instinct to pump the breaks when your car begins to slide – however, this will actually make you slide further and potentially lose control of the vehicle.
If your rear tires begin to skid on ice, it is recommended to take your foot off of the gas pedal and turn the wheel in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding (where you want the front wheels to go). Doing so should help to get your vehicle back on the right track. Be careful, however, not to over-correct.
If your front tires begin to skid, take your foot off of the gas pedal and shift into neutral. As the car begins to slow down, steer gently. Once you have control of the car and feel traction, go back in gear and accelerate slowly. If you have a manual transmission, depress the clutch and tap the brake pedal lightly.
Stuck in the snow? After you turn on your hazard lights and determine that it is safe to exit (and only if it is safe to exit), turn your wheels from side to side. This will help to push out the snow. Now, this is where those winter essentials come into play. Clear as much snow as you can from the tires and underside of your car. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of your wheels. Lightly accelerate, placing your car into a low gear.
Remember – driving at lower speeds gives you better control of your vehicle. Downshift to a lower gear if you anticipate driving onto ice. Be careful not to drive faster than 45mph if roads are icy – even highways. On black ice, any vehicle can slide off of the road at 10mph or less. If you’re fishtailing or sliding at all, slow down!
Also remember that All-Wheel-Drive does not give you more grip in corners or help you to stop. Turn slowly, accelerate gently, and brake lightly and early.
Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!
Personal Injury Attorney Albuquerque
Injured in an auto accident? Whether it was a negligent driver, roads that are poorly maintained, or another unfortunate scenario, as an Albuquerque car accident lawyer, I’m here to give you the legal help that you need. Contact Baskerville Law, LLC today!