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Posted in Blog on December 19, 2018   |  by Gary Burger

Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Tips - Personal Injury Lawyer St. Louis

Rules of the road vary in different weather conditions. Because winter is the most dangerous season to drive in, here are some useful tips to keep you and your loved ones safe on the roads.

  • Prepare your vehicle: It is extremely important to make sure your car is ready to take on winter before you experience winter weather! This means a few things. Make sure your cars fluids are at proper levels, such as and antifreeze, wiper fluid. Check tires and to ensure they have enough tread to handle wet and icy conditions, and have tire chains ready. Also make sure that windshield wiper blades are in good condition.
  • “Ice and snow…Take it slow!” While driving, take it slow. If it is slippery, pull over at the first safe place. Adjust your speed to the conditions, don’t pass slower vehicles unless absolutely necessary. Test to see if you slide when you brake as you being to drive.
  • Braking in wet conditions: When conditions are wet, brake can get wet and that is bad news. “Wet brakes cause brakes to be weak, apply unevenly, or to grab. This can cause lack of braking power, wheel lockups, and pulling to one side or another,” (MO Commercial Driver’s License Manual, MO DOR, pg. 26). Make sure to apply them slowly and smoothly. “Never slam on your brakes—this may cause you to skid,” (Driver Guide, MO DOR, pg. 72.) Pump the brakes on slippery surfaces so that they do not lock.
  • Deice before driving! Deice all windows, windshield, mirrors, and lights before your trip NO MATTER HOW LONG IT IS! This is essential for everyone’s safety.
  • Think 4-wheel drive is safe for the ice? If you have 4-wheel drive vehicle, DO NOT use 4-wheel drive on ice. These types of vehicles can easily overturn on ice, (MO DOR, pg. 72). If you hit an icy patch in 4-wheel drive, take your foot off the accelerator.
  • Use extreme caution when driving over bridges: Did you know that even if there is no precipitation on roads, bridges are still likely to have ice in lower temperatures. Roads on the earth are kept warmer than the bridges that are exposed to wind and lower temperatures on top and bottom.
  • Don’t use your cruise control when driving in winter weather!! Always be alert and attentive to your speed when driving in winter conditions. Cruise control can cause you to go over icy patches too quickly and spin out of control if you are caught unaware.
  • Be prepared: Make sure your car has the following: blanket in case you get stuck in the cold; shovel if you need to dig yourself out; ice scraper to deice your windshield; and kitty litter in case you get stuck.
  • Defrost equipment: Before you go anywhere make sure that defrost and heating equipment works!
  • For all the truck drivers out there: Here are a few things to check when driving in winter weather. Make sure that reflectors are good and clean so that they work well in the long dark days. When getting in the rig clear the radiator shutters, deck plates, hand holds, and steps of any ice or snow.

The more you know going out in winter weather, the better prepared you will be to handle any situation that you might face.