It’s the time of year again when driving conditions tend to be at their worst. In Michigan especially, winter brings very snowy months that make driving difficult for everyone. In addition to the snow and the effect that it has on road conditions and on drivers, icy roads are also obstacles for drivers. Icy and snowy roads typically lead to more car accidents during this time of the year.
However, there are several ways to deal with the hazards of icy roads and to prevent winter car crashes. A good trick to help remember how to drive safely in winter driving conditions is to remember the 3 P’s of safe winter driving, which are provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The 3 P’s of Safe Winter Driving:
1. Prepare for the Trip
The Prepare part of the 3 P’s deals with how to prepare your vehicle for winter driving conditions.
- The first tip is to maintain your car, which includes, but is not limited to, checking your battery, tire tread, windshield wipers, keeping your windows clear, putting in no-freeze fluid, and checking your antifreeze.
- The second tip includes things that drivers should have on hand, such as flashlights, jumper cables, abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, shovels, snow brushes, ice scrapers, blankets, and a cell phone. For long trips, include things like food, water, and medication.
- The third tip of the is knowing how to deal with situations like when your car is stopped or stalled. In such a case, do not get out of your car, don’t overexert your car, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine your dome light, and if you run your car, clear the exhaust pipe and run it only long enough to keep warm.
- The fourth tip is to plan your route, which involves checking the weather ahead of time, checking maps/directions, allowing plenty of time to get to your destination, and letting others know of your route and estimated arrival time.
- The final tip to Prepare for your trip is to practice safe weather driving. This means rehearsing maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot in daylight, steering into a skid, and finding out what your brakes will do (stomp on anti-lock brakes and pump on non-anti-lock brakes). Knowing how to use you brakes is especially important since stopping distances are longer on ice. Another safe winter driving practice is to not idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.
2. Protect Yourself
The next P of the 3 P’s is Protect Yourself. This means:
- Buckling up and using child safety seats properly.
- Never placing an infant seat in front of an airbag.
- Seating children 12 and under in back seat where it is much safer.
3. Prevent Crashes on the Road
The final P is to Prevent Crashes. This includes:
- Slowing down and increasing distances between cars.
- Keeping your eyes open for pedestrians.
- Avoiding fatigue by getting plenty of rest before driving.
- Never driving after partaking in drugs or alcohol.
- If you do plan to drink, designating a sober driver.
Winter is a dangerous season for drivers, especially for those who maneuver Michigan roads. Hopefully by following these winter driving safety tips, some accidents may be prevented this winter season.
While these winter driving safety tips may help prevent some car crashes, accidents may still happen. Winter driving can be very difficult and dangerous, and there is only so much one can do to try to stay safe. If you or anybody you know has been injured in accident due to icy roads or other weather conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all kinds of accident cases, and will fight to get you the help you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.