The holiday season is in full swing and for many of us who live in colder climates, that means figuring out how to navigate the snowy and icy roads that we need to travel on to see our loved ones who don’t live under the same roof. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA), part of the United States Department of Transportation, reports that over 116,800 people are injured in crashes that take place on icy, slushy or snowy roads every year. However, those figures only represent a portion of the total number of crashes that occur in winter weather. The FHA reports that approximately 500,000 crashes occur every year when it is snowing or sleeting, or when the pavement is covered in ice, snow or slush.
Keeping you and your family safe needs to be a top priority for every driver this holiday season, and we’ve put together a list of ways to prepare for any eventuality.
- Stock Your Car With A Winter Survival Kit: It’s always a good idea to keep a basic first aid kit in your car in case of emergency, but you should expand your safety gear when there’s a chance that your car may break down or become stuck during a surprise storm. A good winter survival kit should include an ice scraper, a flashlight, a safety emergency blanket, reflective triangles, non-perishable food like trail mix and energy bars, water, jumper cables, and salt / sand.
- Check The Forecast: Before you set out on any trip, even if it’s just a short drive down the road to pick up some milk, check your local weather forecast to see whether or not a massive storm is on the other side of the horizon.
- Check Your Tires: Your first priority should be checking to see if your tires are inflated. As the temperature grows colder, the air pressure in your tires will begin to decrease. If you let them become significantly underinflated, you increase your risk of catastrophic failure.
- Keep Your Gas Tank At Least Half Full: The unpredictable winter weather could strike at a moment’s notice, especially if you’re making a long journey. If you ever find yourself trapped in a blizzard, your best course of action is to turn your car on and let it run for at least 10 minutes every hour, not only to keep you and your passengers warm but also to make sure that your car stays hot – leave it off for too long in cold temperatures, and you could wind up dealing with frozen and unresponsive mechanical components. Before you do, just make sure that your tailpipe is clear of any snow or debris that could cause an issue.
- Slow Down: Even if you have a state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line off road vehicle, it won’t be able to get a good grip in icy conditions. In order to keep you, your passengers and everyone else on the road safe, the FHA recommends that drivers decrease their average speed by 3 to 13 percent in light snow, and recommends that drivers decrease their speed by 5 to 40 percent in heavy snow. Depending on the amount of traffic on the roads, the overall visibility and the speed limit, the FHA’s recommendations can change. No matter what, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when driving on snowy and / or icy roads.
Unfortunately, a negligent driver can eliminate any precautions you took in order to keep yourself safe on the roads – which is where we come in. At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our New Jersey car accident lawyers are committed to providing top-notch legal representation to people who were seriously injured in car crashes in order to secure our clients the maximum compensation possible. Since we first opened our doors over 75 years ago, we’ve successfully recovered more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements, $250 million of which was secured in the past five years alone. Give us a call at (732) 440-3089 to speak with a member of our firm, or fill out our online form to request a free case evaluation today.