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Wednesday, December 03, 2008
It's that time of year again. Even though the calendar doesn't say that its winter yet, the weather certainly does. And with the increase in bad weather comes the yearly increase in car accidents. Given that it is that time of year again, we at Iowa Car Accident.com felt that it is a good time of year to for some winter driving tips and tactics.
First, make sure you car is prepared for winter driving. To ensure that your car is in its best condition to handle the conditions, make sure of the following:
Second, make sure you have the necessary supplies and equipment in case a problem does occur.
If you can, stay home! In the worst weather, it is advisable, if you can avoid it, to wait until the conditions are better. Also, drive during the day time if possible.
If you must go out, listen to driving reports. Avoid auto accidents and the areas with the highest probability of congestion.
Make sure your car windows, mirrors and lights are free of snow and ice build-up and fog before you leave. It may take a few extra minutes but it will be well worth it.
Okay, so your car is prepared and you have to get out and drive (I mean, the boss isn't canceling work? Jerk.) Most importantly, leave yourself much more time to get where you are going. As a corollary, make sure you drive much slower as well. Speed is one of the biggest problems on the roadways, especially during bad weather. If something goes wrong in front of you, you need to be able to get stopped. In wintery conditions, one cannot count on speed limits as an indicator of appropriate speed. Also, using lower gears will help keep the car at a reasonable speed and correspondingly help with traction. However, avoid abrupt gear changes as they can lead to skidding.
Proper use of brakes- If you have anti-lock brakes, you will often feel then begin to pulsate. If you notice them doing so, DO NOT let off the brakes. This is how anti-lock brakes are designed and you need to continue to apply pressure appropriate to slow the vehicle. Simply brake as you would normally, in other words, hard enough for the given conditions. On the other hand, if you do not have anti-lock brakes and they begin to lock up, it is advisable to ease off to avoid sliding. Brakes work better if the wheels are not sliding across the contact area and in a vehicle without anti-lock brakes, that sometimes needs to be done manually.
Be especially careful if the road composition changes or if you drive over a bridge or an overpass. Such places increase the likelihood of the automobile sliding and, accordingly, avoid significant turns or corrections until at you reach a safer area on the roadway.
Use you lights to ensure the best visibility and to ensure that other drivers see you.
Avoid distractions such as talking or texting on a mobile phone, eating, doing makeup, or even the radio or in-depth conversations. The more attention you pay to your driving the better off you will be.
Possibly most importantly, and even more important than normally because of the significantly increased risk of an accident, always make sure you and your passengers use their seatbelts!!
Driving during the winter time is not the best, but with a few precautions including the ones mentioned here, you will be most likely to arrive at your destination safe and sound. If you are in an accident make sure you contact law enforcement and get any injured individuals, including yourself, immediate treatment. For a complete discussion of all steps to take following and auto accident, please click here: Accident Checklist
And remember to check the IowaCarAccident.com blog regularly for more on driving and accidents in Iowa.
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