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Stay Safe with These Winter Driving Tips

Posted in Car Accident on February 25, 2020

Nashville car accident lawyer

While temperatures are continuing to fluctuate in Middle Tennessee, it’s important to remember that there’s still several weeks of winter left—and that means the possibility of dangerous roads. Inclement weather is one of the biggest risk factors for auto accidents, and few weather events are more dangerous than freezing temperatures that result in the accumulation of ice and snow on roadways.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers know that crashes are extremely common on days when roads become slick and icy. If you’ve ever commuted into or out of Music City on a snow day, you’ve undoubtedly experienced major delays on the area’s interstates and highways due to crashes and backups. While those delays can be a major inconvenience, it’s important to remember that many winter crashes cause serious injuries, and that’s why you should do everything in your power to avoid one.

Prepare Your Vehicle Before You Hit the Road

Winter weather is hard on vehicles. If yours isn’t up to the task, it could make your risks even greater should you encounter ice or snow on the road. Follow these tips to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape the rest of this winter:

  • Get a full inspection done—If your vehicle has high mileage or is more than 10 years old, it’s important to get it fully checked out by a mechanic. Cold temperatures can damage critical components like belts, seals, tubes, and other important parts due to dry rot, shrinking, loosening, and other effects. If your brakes are worn, get them replaced right away.
  • Check your vehicle’s recall status—Huge numbers of vehicles are recalled every year, and a significant number of vehicles manufactured since the early 2000s have been recalled due to defective airbags. If your vehicle has been recalled, you should take it in for inspection and repair as soon as possible, as it may be dangerous to drive.
  • Inspect your tires—Your tires are your lifeline when you’re driving in treacherous conditions. If your tires are significantly worn down or bald, you will be at risk of losing traction and control of your vehicle while driving. If you need to replace your tires, consider purchasing all-weather tires to protect yourself this winter and in the years to come.
  • Pack a winter survival kit—Being stranded on a highway or interstate during a snowstorm may seem like something that only happens in TV shows and movies, but it’s a reality for thousands of Americans every year. Packing your vehicle with non-perishable food, water, blankets, extra clothing, phone charger, and other essentials can keep you safe until help arrives.

Ensuring that your vehicle is fully road-worthy can significantly reduce your chances of an accident, but it can’t eliminate it. Your best defense against a crash is still being an attentive and safe driver.

Keep These Tips in Mind While Driving

Although you can’t control the weather or the behaviors of other drivers, you can control your own driving skills and habits. Being a safe driver is important year-round, but it’s especially vital when roads are potentially dangerous. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and other drivers by following these tips:

  • Reduce your speed—Speeding is always dangerous, but it’s even more risky when roads are slick and there’s a potential for driving over black ice. In many cases, driving at the speed limit isn’t enough to truly reduce your risks. Slow down until you feel fully in control of your vehicle, and remember that significant snow and ice accumulation calls for significantly reduced speeds.
  • Avoid distractions—As with speeding, distracted driving is always dangerous, but it becomes incredibly risky during winter weather. Driving over ice can result in immediate lose of control, and unless you’re prepared to act right away, you may skid into other vehicles, trees, or off the road entirely. Put your phone down, and if you need to call or text, pull over first to do so.
  • Don’t follow too closely—The behaviors of other drivers during inclement weather can be erratic and unpredictable. Always leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. If you follow another vehicle too closely, you may be unable to react in time if the driver needs to suddenly slow down or stop due to ice and snow on the road.
  • Don’t drive when conditions deteriorate—In major snow and ice storms, you’re much safer staying at home or wherever you are. If conditions worsen while you’re on the road, especially if ice begins to rapidly accumulate on the asphalt, try to find a safe place to pull over as soon as possible. If you’re on a highway or interstate, consider stopping at a hotel for the night.

In addition to these tips, it’s also helpful to stick to main highways whenever possible during and after inclement winter weather. Those roads are more likely to be treated with salt, brine, and other de-icing chemicals. Back roads and less-traveled roads may still be slick and dangerous, even for drivers traveling at slower speeds.

We Help Winter Crash Victims Get the Compensation They Deserve

Although the risk of crashes goes way up when roads are icy, it doesn’t always mean that accidents are a foregone conclusion. In almost all cases, drivers can remain fully in control of their vehicles by being cautious, keeping their eyes and focus on the road, and reducing their speed. When they fail to do so, serious accidents and injuries can occur.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys work hard to help innocent victims get compensation after crashes that weren’t their fault. Regardless if the weather 75 degrees and sunny, or 20 degrees and snowing, we believe that all drivers share a responsibility to make Tennessee’s roads as safe as possible. And when they fail to do so and someone gets hurt, they should be held liable.

If you or someone you love was hurt in an auto accident this winter or any other time of year, we want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. It’s our goal to get you the money you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.