Living on the east coast, we all have had to deal with the toll winter takes on the roads. Being smart about driving in winter weather will prevent countless accidents and could save lives. First, when weather is severe, it is best to stay off the roads if at all possible. This will not only allow township and county workers to plow the roads—because a plow can clear a road much better when no one is on it—but also prevent avoidable accidents.
Some things to remember when embarking on a winter drive: always leave ample space between you and the vehicle ahead as it takes longer to break on icy roads, when visibility is poor be sure all of your lights are on so other drivers can see you—this may mean turning on your high beams, and give snow plows plenty of room to do their job. According to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, the leading cause of death during winter weather is motor vehicle accidents.
How to Prepare Your Vehicle
- Brakes. Making sure your breaks are in good condition will really help when faced with driving on snow and ice. Have them checked sooner rather than later, ideally before the winter season.
- Wipers, Defrosters, and Exhaust System. These are all necessary for safe winter driving, so make sure they are all in good working order. Replace wipers often and make sure there is nothing on your dashboard or back windshield that will prevent proper defrosting.
- Tires. This cannot be stressed enough. A bald tire will not fare well on ice and snow. Be sure there is enough air in your tires and that they still have good treading—or you will be stuck spinning your wheels, literally.
- Gas. With winter weather come unexpected road closures. If you have to go off your normal route you may be driving longer than expected. It is always good to make sure you have plenty of gas in case an unforeseen detour arises or you are stuck in winter traffic—idling still burns gas.
Preparing your car may not be enough. In severe weather you may become stuck in a snow bank or stranded on a closed road. It is best to keep an emergency kit in your car, no matter how silly you feel making this it is better to be safe than sorry.
Emergency Winter Weather Kit
- Window scraper
- A broom or brush to remove snow
- Sand or kitty litter (to give spinning tires some traction)
- A flash light and batteries
- Some non-perishable food (in case you become stranded)
- Small tool kit
- First aid kit
- Road flares
- Booster cables
Accidents do happen, but taking these precautions will help best protect you. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident you should contact the New Jersey car accident attorneys at Console & Associates P.C. They will work with you to try and get the compensation you deserve. Be smart and be safe this winter.