Winter Weather Driving and Preparation Tips
Although the official start of winter is two months away, it’s never too early to begin preparing your vehicle and yourself for driving in potentially dangerous conditions caused by ice, snow, and freezing rain.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation maintains a large supply of salt and snow plows to keep roadways throughout the state clear and safe to drive even after winter weather strikes, but they can’t always treat every road. In addition, road conditions can continue to deteriorate even after treatment when ice continues to form.
TDOT has around 250,000 tons of salt and nearly two million gallons of salt brine at the ready at the beginning of every winter season, but these supplies can be exhausted, especially if the state experiences multiple snow storms and road icings throughout the winter.
Road crews with TDOT put most of their resources and labor into clearing heavily-trafficked interstates and highways, which means rural roads may not receive full attention.
Properly preparing your vehicle for winter weather and understanding the best practices for staying safe while driving in winter weather can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in an accident.
Follow These Tips from TDOT to Stay Safe in Ice and Snow
TDOT published a list of helpful tips to assist drivers when they have to travel on roads that have been affected by ice and snow. Knowing the best ways to drive safely in winter weather can make a big impact on your ability to avoid accidents and stay in control of your vehicle.
- Prepare your vehicle and check driving conditions before you leave.
Before leaving home, check the local news and dial 511 from your land line or cell phone to get current driving conditions. In addition, you should also clear all snow and ice from your vehicle, including the roof and all windows. Finally, check your vehicle’s tires, lights, and battery before leaving. It’s important to be visible during snowstorms, and your tires and battery are essential for staying safe and mobile when ice and snow begin to accumulate.
- Reduce your speed and avoid using cruise control.
Exceeding the speed limit always increases your risk of being involved in an accident, but doing so when there’s ice or snow on the road is exceptionally dangerous. In fact, it’s best to drive below the speed limit when road conditions are treacherous to maximize your control over your vehicle. In addition, you should also avoid using cruise control, as it’s only designed to be activated under normal road conditions.
- Give yourself plenty of distance to slow down, stop, accelerate, and turn.
Sudden movements are a big cause of accidents when roads are slick due to snow and ice. That means you should always prepare ahead of time for turning and stopping. Move into turn lanes and begin reducing your speed earlier than normal when you know you’re about to make a turn, and gradually increase your speed when entering roadways or passing through intersections when you get a green light.
- Stay back when driving near snowplows.
If you’re driving on a highway or interstate during rush hour when there’s snow or ice on the ground, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter a snowplow. These vehicles provide a great public service, but they can also pose dangers due to their size and weight. Treat snowplows like other large commercial and industrial vehicles and give them plenty of room.
Although the weather is still warm in Middle Tennessee, temperatures will soon drop and roads can become icy and slick as soon as early November. The sooner you prepare for winter weather driving, the safer you and your family will be when you’re driving to work and to school. In addition, it’s important to remember that although TDOT works around the clock to clear snow-filled and icy roads during the winter, they can’t always keep every road free from hazards. That means it’s up to you to drive safely.
If you or someone you know was injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses. The Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law can build a strong claim for you and represent you in court if necessary. Get in touch with us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.