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Posted in Car Accidents on November 1, 2022   |  by Gary Burger

How to Stay Safe Driving in the Winter

How to Stay Safe on the Roads in the Winter. The Midwest is known for its chaotic weather. In the winter, cold freezes and sunnier days often come and go, leaving the roads slippery. That leaves our tires with less traction, which makes any slight movement like braking or accelerating more dangerous. Snow and rain also reduce visibility, making it harder to see other drivers and react to events on the road. We all owe each other a duty of care to keep each other safe on the road. Below are some winter driving tips to help Missouri and Illinois drivers keep each other safe.

With offices in St. Louis, Chicago and elsewhere, Burger Law is ideally suited to represent the injured throughout Missouri and Illinois. If you were injured in a winter car accident, or sustained any type of injury due to the negligence of another, speak to a car accident lawyer today at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free consultation. See how much your claim may be worth by using our free personal injury calculator.

Winter Driving Tips

There are a lot of easy, common-sense ways to avoid getting into an accident in winter road conditions. Both the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation offer winter driving tips on their website. They typically fall under three categories: preparing your car for the winter, before you head out and while you're driving:

Preparing Your Car For the Winter

As the weather starts to get cooler, you should take the following steps to make sure your car is ready for the winter:

  • Get a tune-up at the mechanic — Ask them to check the battery, brake fluids, wiper and wiper fluid. If you don't have all-season tires, put winter tires on your vehicle. If you do have all-season tires, check the tread and tire pressure. Switch out your floor mats for thicker, rubber ones that will stand up better to the mud, sleet and snow on your shoes.
  • Stock your vehicle — Make sure you have:
    • A flashlight with spare batteries
    • A shovel and ice scraper
    • A small bag of sand or kitty litter to help get your vehicle unstuck
    • A cell phone charger
    • Extra gloves, socks and other warm clothes
    • Flares or emergency markers

Before You Head Out

Once you've prepared your vehicle, you still should take some extra time before each trip to lower your risks of a crash:

  • If the weather's poor, consider staying home unless driving is absolutely necessary
  • If you do go out, leave early so you can drive slower and still get to your destination on time
  • Check that your gas tank is at least half full to avoid a gas line freeze
  • Clear all the ice and snow from your windows, lights and any exterior cameras you may have
  • Plan your trip out ahead of time so you don't have to rely on a handheld GPS

On the Road

Once you're driving:

  • Drive slowly, especially when accelerating and decelerating
  • Increase following distance
  • Keep your headlights on
  • Watch to see if vehicles in front of you are having problems with the road conditions
  • If you start to skid, steer in the direction of the skid so you don't have to overcorrect when your wheels regain traction
  • Be extra sure to practice safe driving habits like not texting and driving, not going over the speed limit and always driving sober

Liability in Winter Car Accidents | Speak to a Burger Law Auto Accident Lawyer Today

Of course, you can take every safety precaution possible and still be injured by someone else who decided to break the rules of the road. A winter or inclement-weather accident is no different from another car accident where someone else is at fault, except that drivers are required to be extra careful in the winter. The best way to understand if you have a claim in Missouri or Illinois is by contacting a personal injury lawyer and asking them to review your case. Read more about how liability is determined in a weather-related accident here, or speak to an attorney today at (314) 500-HURT. Burger Law has over 30 years of experience getting the injured in Missouri and Illinois full compensation for their injuries.