Safe City Driving During the Winter

Winter Driving SafetyCity driving can be treacherous in winter weather. Icy roads, frigid temperatures, poor visibility and wind make for challenging driving conditions in any setting. In the city, you have the most dangerous and unpredictable factor of all – other drivers. Even as a skilled, experienced driver, comfortable driving in harsh conditions, you know many of the other drivers don’t know what they’re doing, aren’t driving the right vehicle for the conditions, and some who just don’t care.

Here are some tips for staying safe:

Stay Informed

Watch your local news and check your state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) website. Weather can change suddenly. You can go out on a warm sunny morning and find yourself heading home in blizzard conditions. Always try to get an idea of what to expect. When local authorities advise people to stay off the roads, you should stay home or or stay put if at all possible.

If you must get out, you need to know about road closures, accidents and other factors that could affect your route.

Tires

Get the right tires for winter weather. All-weather tires can get hard when they get cold. When they harden, they will no longer give you traction. Winter tires are made to stay soft and will grip better than all-weather tires when temperatures get cold.

Make sure you have plenty of tread and that your tires are properly inflated. Cold temperatures reduce tire pressure by about one pound per ten degree drop in temperature.

Take it Easy and Watch Out for Idiots

This is the hardest part. When you’re driving on snow and ice, you must do everything slowly, gently, and with caution. No sudden stops or starts. No swerving. Gentle turns. Lots of extra room between you and other vehicles. Basic, common-sense stuff. But that can be very difficult to accomplish in heavy traffic.

When everyone around you is in a rush, keep your cool. Don’t let them push you to drive too fast. Let them get angry and honk and pass you. And always be on the lookout for drivers losing control ahead of you, behind you, in the other lanes, and approaching from parking lots and side streets. Never assume the other driver will stop when they should. Be prepared to stop, even if it’s your turn to go.

If You Get in an Accident, Don’t Panic

If you do get in a collision, don’t panic. Assuming your car is drivable, pull over to a safe place before getting out. If anyone is hurt, your first priority should be to get medical attention. Whenever possible, get the other drivers’ contact and insurance information, gather witness names and contact information and take pictures at the scene. If you have questions about your rights or believe you have a personal injury claim in Chicago, please call the Sklare Law Group at 888-529-3400 for a free consultation.

For more information about car safety and winter driving, please download this car safety ebook.