Winter weather brings with it snow and squall, making it almost impossible to navigate roads, and leading to a higher than normal accident rate. These accidents happen not only because of the weather conditions, but also because people tend to ignore these conditions and drive as if there are normal conditions around them. The winter months require special attention while driving, and to prevent this happening to you, there are certain things you can do to make sure you and your family are safe from harm this holiday season.
Firstly, be prepared. Make sure you, and your automobile, are ready for winter driving. Make sure you are not driving when tired, or when you have had alcohol as this will make your responses slower. If it is snowing, or there is risk of ?black ice? on the roads, make sure you put on snow tyres or chains to make driving easier under the conditions. Wear your seatbelt at all times ? and in all weather – as this can save you should you get into an accident. Before getting in the car, remove all the snow from the windows, headlights, roof and hood if it has snowed recently. This will make you more visible to other drivers, and improve visibility for you. Turn on your headlights so that you can see better, and be seen. Specifically on overpasses and bridges, beware of the conditions as these places tend to be icy when the rest of the road is not.
Be aware of what ?black ice? is and how you can recognise it. Black ice is a thin layer of ice that is formed when snow melts and then refreezes, making it almost invisible. Do not drive fast even if there is no black ice, as you never know when you might hit an icy patch. Also, stay slow, and leave plenty of space for you to stop should you have to brake suddenly. Remember that heavier vehicles need more time to stop. If you do have to brake suddenly do not pump anti-lock brakes, instead ‘stomp and steer? to gain control as this is more likely to stop you.
Make sure your gasoline tank is always filled and never running low. In case you do get stranded, make sure there is a first aid kit, as well as flashlights, blankets, warm clothing, flares, citizens? band radio, cell phone, a small shovel, sand (for traction) and jumper cables in your car at all times.
The best way to prevent an accident from happening is to be ever vigilant in conditions where there is snow, rain or fog. Driving slow, and giving yourself enough time to react should you, or another driver near you, lose control is the best method to avoiding accidents. Keeping your vehicle in good shape will also prevent accidents where your vehicle breaks down on the road, and causes a pileup as other drivers careen into you.