Heavy travel by car during the winter months and the increased challenges of winter weather mean that it is even more important to take extra steps to protect yourself and your family from potential personal injuries.
Most Raleigh auto accident lawyers know that many travel-related personal injuries can be prevented with a little preparation and forethought. That preparation should begin with the upkeep of your vehicle. Winter can bring heavier, more frigid precipitation, so your car will need to be in optimal shape for the difficult road conditions.
For starters, have your car serviced early in the winter season. This will allow professionals to detect any potential problems with your vehicle. Be sure your maintenance team checks your air filters, as debris and contaminants in your filters can cause problems inside the vehicle. Checking your wiper blades is key as well; worn blades are less effective and decrease visibility when driving in winter weather. Also, have all fluid levels checked. Antifreeze, power steering, transmission and brake fluids all impact your car’s handling performance.
Make sure your vehicle has the best equipment for its make and model installed. Check for any recalls on your car, such as airbags, tires or seat belts, and have recalled items replaced immediately. Keep all documentation about your car maintenance in a safe place – should you have a car accident, your lawyer may need these documents as evidence.
Your optimal safety and personal injury prevention may depend on the condition of your tires. During winter rain, wind, fog, sleet or snow, good tire traction may make the difference in avoiding collisions and other accidents.
Effectively driving through winter weather requires the deepest tire grooves possible. Tires with worn tread have a greater potential to slip or hydroplane in wet weather, and that may increase your chances of sustaining a personal injury on the road. Consider purchasing winter tires, as most of them have tread patterns that make driving on frozen pavement more effective.
It is also extremely important to check your tire pressure. Tires lose pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature, and severely under inflated tires have poor traction on the road. Low tire pressure can also cause a blowout and a loss of control of the car, creating a dangerous scenario for you and fellow drivers.
Use Safe Driving Habits
Once you have taken care of your car maintenance, think about your own driving habits. Any Raleigh auto accident lawyer will tell you that you can never be too safe behind the wheel of a car. Here are some tips to increase safety on wintry roads:
- Increase your distance between vehicles. This will help you avoid collisions, in case inclement weather affects someone’s driving skills.
- Decrease speed. Faster speeds increase the risk of hydroplaning and losing control. In winter weather, it is best to drive slightly under the speed limit. Avoid using cruise control, so you’ll be able to react quickly to any hazards caused by winter precipitation.
- Give yourself extra travel time. Being calm and unhurried will reduce your stress and help you avoid critical driving mistakes. Listen to weather reports and allow extra road time accordingly.
Finally, always check weather forecasts, look for major roads and driving routes that may be better maintained during winter weather, and be prepared to make alternate travel plans if necessary. The old saying still rings true today: it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when being mindful of safety can prevent personal injuries to you, someone you love and other drivers.