Tips to Avoid a Car Accident in the Snow

Many drivers in the country’s snow belt look at winter driving with a mixture of dread and resignation. Our Pittsburgh car accident attorneys at Chaffin Luhana sympathize with commuters who have no choice but to drive in snow and ice– and offer these suggestions to make winter driving safer:

Prepare Your Car for Winter Driving Before the Snow Begins to Fall

  • Review your car’s maintenance schedule and have your mechanic check the engine, transmission, and brakes to diagnose problems before they strand you in the snow.
  • Have your oil changed, and if your car’s specifications call for it, use a lower viscosity oil that will be less likely to thicken in very cold conditions.
  • Check your head and taillights and turn signals and replace old or broken bulbs.
  • Check your tire pressure at least weekly. Cold temperatures can cause lower tire pressures, which can lead to bigger problems when you are driving. If your tires are old or worn, replace them with tires that have good tread depth.
  • Equip your car with emergency supplies, including flares, blankets, a simple first-aid kit, and water bottles.
  • Refill wiper fluid reservoirs with a solution that will not freeze as temperatures drop.

Make Your Car Safe When You Do Head Out into the Winter Elements

  • Leave yourself extra time to brush all snow off of your car and to scrap ice off of windows. Any snow that you leave on your car can blow off onto other cars around you, which can increase your odds of getting into an accident.
  • Put your phone into your glove compartment or some other location that will not distract you when you are driving. Winter driving requires more focus and concentration. Cell phone usage, while you are driving in the snow, will significantly increase the likelihood of having an accident.
  • Be careful of heavy outerwear and other garments that can restrict your movements while you are driving. Make sure that your footwear allows you to operate your accelerator and brake pedals without any problems.

Remain Extra Vigilant When You Drive in Ice and Snow

  • Leave extra space between your car and the vehicle in front of you to accommodate longer stopping distances on ice and snow.
  • Reduce your driving speed on roads that have packed ice and snow.
  • If your car has anti-lock brakes, know how to use them, and trust them to stop you when you need to brake hard to avoid obstacles.
  • If your car goes into a skid, stay calm, gradually take your foot off of the accelerator, and steer carefully into the direction of the skid to regain control.
  • If conditions are so bad that you are uncomfortable driving, pull over to a safe parking location, and call friends or emergency services for assistance.

In spite of all of the precautions that you might take to avoid accidents in winter driving, other motorists will not be as careful, and you might still have an accident. Statistics show that between 2013 and 2017, Pennsylvania was the second-worst state in the country for fatalities for car accidents, and that Pittsburgh was the most dangerous city.

If you experience significant property losses or injuries in a car accident, call us for assistance on recovering the largest amount of damages that may be available to you. Our attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion in damages for their clients, and they stand ready to help you do the same. Our core value is “Doing Good by Doing Right.”