Snow and ice during the winter months in New Jersey pose a danger to drivers throughout the state. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 17 percent of motor vehicle crashes take place during winter weather conditions.
If at all possible, avoid driving during winter conditions. Even if you feel experienced traveling through snow, it is possible other drivers may not be as prepared. If you must drive during these conditions, it is important to thoroughly prepare and follow best safety practices to help you arrive safely at your destination.
1. Remain updated on regularly scheduled maintenance
There are maintenance procedures you should routinely perform on your car to keep it running smoothly, such as checking the battery, having your oil changed, and rotating your tires. There’s never a convenient time for your car to break down to due to maintenance issues, but it is more troublesome if you are left in cold weather conditions.
2. Carry the Right Equipment in your Car
It is important to have proper tools in your car at all times — many of which are not just reserved for the winter months. Before making a trip, ensure you have the following items:
- A snow shovel
- An ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Food and water
- Portable phone charger
If you become stranded on the roads, you must have the right equipment to get yourself back on the road or call for help, while also keeping warm and well nourished.
3. Properly Inflate Tires
Proper tire inflation allows for the right degree of handling and traction which is crucial in slippery conditions. You should learn your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure and keep your tires inflated as close as possible to this standard.
The daily fluctuations in temperature can alter pressure, especially if your car is parked in a warm garage and is then driven in cold temperatures. Regularly check tire pressure before driving in winter weather.
4. Clear Your Car and Windshield of any Snow
You need complete visibility when driving, so always take the extra time to completely clear your car before driving. Prepare to leave earlier than expected to compensate for this additional time. Saving a few minutes is not worth obstructing your view and increasing the chances of a motor vehicle accident.
5. Keep at Least a Half Tank of Gas
Traffic jams are common in winter weather, and you may get stuck on the roads for longer than you planned. This means you cannot afford to wait until the last minute to refill your gas tank.
While it is always important to ensure you have enough gas in the tank, it is even more important to be diligent about refilling your tank in the winter weather because being stranded in bad weather poses an even more dangerous scenario.
6. Check the Weather Before you Leave
You should be aware of the conditions along your route before you begin traveling. Though snow and ice may be light at your initial location, check the radar for the direction you are heading. This could lead you to delay leaving while weather clears or change your route to avoid heavy winter weather.
7. Take Precautions While Driving
Leave plenty of extra time to arrive at your destination because maintaining proper speed while driving is even more crucial in snow and ice. Drive well below the speed limit and keep at least three car lengths between you and the car in front you. Never use cruise control in the snow, and keep your lights on at all times.
Hire a Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you need a strong legal team to represent your claim. An experienced attorney can help you determine the type of claim you want to file and what you could expect to receive in compensation.
For a free consultation, contact Dansky | Katz | Ringold | York or call our toll-free number at 800-609-7577. We’ll review the details of your case and fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve.