Winter driving can intimidate even the most skilled motorists. With winter comes snow and ice, which can reduce visibility and traction. While New Jersey is not known for severe winter weather, certain parts of the state see plenty of snow, as well as the occasional storm. When weather and road conditions get bad, it is important to know what precautions you must take to stay safe.
Adjust your driving for conditions
Powering through the snow at full speed increases your risk of spinning out or causing an accident. When traveling in inclement weather, you will want to adjust your driving to conditions. Likely, this will mean going slower than usual if it is snowing or if the roads are icy, since your vehicle will have less traction on slick surfaces. With less traction, you will also want to increase your distance from other motorists, since you will need more time to brake. And when you accelerate or brake, you will want to do so gently. The less pressure you apply to your pedals, the better control you will have of your vehicle.
Make sure your vehicle is in good shape
Keeping your vehicle well-maintained will improve your odds of making it through winter safely. More than anything, you will want to check that your tires are appropriate for the season and have enough tread. You will also want to monitor your tire pressure, especially at the beginning of winter. Drops in temperature often lead to drops in tire pressure, and you will need to inflate your tires to the level indicated by the manufacturer if this happens. Besides taking care of your tires, you must make sure your vehicle’s brakes, lights, windshield wipers and battery are all in operable condition.
Even if you are cautious behind the wheel and keep your vehicle in top shape, accidents and breakdowns can happen during winter. As a precaution, you will want to keep a kit of safety essentials in your vehicle if you need to keep yourself warm or dig yourself out of the snow. Some of the items you will want on hand include:
- A blanket
- A cell-phone charger
- A first aid kit
- A flashlight
- A shovel
- An ice scraper and brush
- Coarse materials (like salt or sand)
- Food and water
- Winter clothing
While winter driving may seem dangerous, you have ways to make it safe. Yet, you must also remember that other motorists may not adjust their driving for the season or prepare their vehicles for it. If you find yourself injured due to another motorist’s mistakes, you will want to work with an attorney to fight for appropriate compensation.