Lehigh Valley: 610-435-7400

Philadelphia: 215-567-6616

Preparing For The Hazards Of Driving In Winter

How to Prepare for Hazardous Winter Driving Conditions

Although winter weather may look pretty, it creates an extreme hazard for drivers. An estimated 17% of accidents occur in winter driving conditions. If you get into an accident in winter driving conditions, a consultation with an Allentown personal injury lawyer could assist you in protecting your rights and understanding your responsibilities when operating a motor vehicle in hazardous weather.

Check the Weather Forecast

Check the weather forecast for the route you plan to travel. A reliable weather forecasting site provides detailed hourly information about temperatures and wintry precipitation. Some of these forecasts offer street-level information, which could help you plan a safer route. Keep in mind that weather conditions may quickly change, so you may need to check the forecast again if you're on a long trip. You could verify the forecast while stopping for gas or at a rest area along your route.

Look at Current Road Conditions

Before you get on the road, check the current road conditions. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation operates a real-time website called 511PA. This site provides details about the conditions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, all interstates and state highways, bridges, tunnels, overpasses, and local roads.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Regular maintenance keeps your vehicle ready for all types of driving conditions, but it's especially important for staying safe on slick roads and in poor visibility. Before getting on the road, check your vehicle's tire pressure. Add air to the tires if the pressure is below the manufacturer's specifications. Consider changing the oil and oil filter before freezing temperatures arrive. Turn your vehicle's engine onto the accessory setting. Walk around it to check that all lights are in working order. If it's been a while since you last replaced your vehicle's battery, test its charge. Extreme cold often causes batteries to fail. Verify the coolant and wiper fluid levels and top off the antifreeze. If you are driving in a mountainous area, consider switching to snow tires for the trip. If you park outdoors, clear snow and ice from all parts of your vehicle, including the top. Large chunks of snow or ice can fall off while you drive, impairing your visibility and that of the drivers around you.

Pack for an Emergency

Even if you're just taking a short drive, stock your vehicle with essential emergency supplies. A breakdown or accident can happen at any time. You may also need to pull over and wait out a snow squall or other short-term hazard on the road. Some supplies to include in your vehicle include flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, bottled water, high-protein snacks, and any essential hygiene or medications you would need for up to 24 hours. Check your first aid kit to make sure it is fully stocked, and nothing has expired.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Attempting to hurry and encountering hazardous road conditions puts you at an increased risk of an accident. Slick roads necessitate slower driving speeds. Give yourself more time to arrive at your destination than the trip would typically require. Including some extra time in case you need to reduce your rate of speed may also help lower your anxiety.

Practice Safe Driving

Understand how your vehicle handles slick roads and winter precipitation. Each vehicle has its own response to different weather conditions, and knowing how yours handles ice, snow, and other wintry conditions helps you prepare. Be sure to wear your safety belt and properly secure children in car seats. If you encounter deicing trucks or snowplows, give them plenty of room. If you get into an accident this winter, consulting with the Law Office of Metzger & Kleiner helps you protect your rights. Call the office in Philadelphia at 215-567-6616 or the Lehigh Valley office at 610-435-7400, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation with our Allentown personal injury lawyer.

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