Snow and Winter Weather Bring New Challenges and Dangers for TN Drivers
With temperatures beginning to drop across the state and the first day of winter rapidly approaching, it’s important for drivers to begin preparing their vehicles for the harsh conditions brought on by the cold.
A report by Yahoo Autos says that AAA provided roadside service to nearly eight million motorists who became stranded in their vehicles due to winter weather incidents last winter, and that the overall number of requests for jump starts and emergency response spikes during cold weather.
That’s why it’s vital for drivers to begin preparing for winter driving long before the first snowfall of the season or the first time roads become slick and icy.
Winter Driving Checklist
Any time the road conditions are less than warm, sunny, and dry, drivers may be at an increased risk of being involved in accidents or experiencing a weather-related incident. To reduce your chances of being a victim of winter weather, do your best to follow these tips:
- Check your vehicle’s battery.
The heat of the summer months can take a major toll on your battery that may not become evident until winter is in full swing. As a result of being exposed to high temperatures, your vehicle may lose some of its electrical power, resulting in sluggish starts or your vehicle failing to start at all on cold mornings. AAA says that it replaces the most batteries during January, which is one of the coldest months of the year. To test your battery, take your vehicle to an auto parts store and take advantage of their free battery tests.
- Check your tires and brakes.
You can get away with having tires with worn down tread during the warm and sunny days of summer, but once winter weather takes hold, it’s vital that your tires are able to properly grip the road. Driving on worn down tires in snowy or icy weather can be a recipe for disaster, as even small amounts of accumulation can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and spin out or strike other vehicles and objects. If your tires or brakes are heavily worn or just not performing as well as they should, get them replaced at the beginning of winter.
- Check your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals.
Winter doesn’t just mean cold weather. It also means shorter days and earlier sunsets. In Middle Tennessee, it’s almost completely dark by 5 p.m., which is the beginning of evening rush hour for most commuters. Driving at dusk or in the dark is always more dangerous than driving during the day, and that’s why it’s important to check every light on your vehicle and make sure it works properly. Any lights that no longer work or are dim should be replaced immediately.
- Check your AC and heater.
If you experienced troubles with your AC during the hot summer months, you may need it even more during the winter. Having a working AC and heater not only keeps you more comfortable during the winter, but it also helps defrost your windshield when it gets coated with ice on the coldest winter mornings. In addition, having a working heater is important in the event that you’re involved in an accident that leaves you stranded during extremely cold weather.
These are important tips for preparing your vehicle, but it’s also vital that you prepare yourself for winter driving. Icy and snow require increased concentration and caution, as the reduced traction makes all drivers more likely to be involved in accidents.
The Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law know that winter poses significant challenges for drivers, and while you may do everything in your power to address those challenges, other drivers may neglect to do so. If you or someone you love was injured in an accident caused by a careless driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your accident-related expenses. To find out how we can help you, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.