Tips for Driving Safe in Winter Conditions

Winter Weather Makes Driving Very Dangerous

Even though Dallas isn’t home to the most snow in the country, it still sees its fair share of freezing temperatures during the winter months. Whenever the temperature dips into the 30s or lower, driving conditions can become hazardous. This is particularly the case in a climate like Texas. The weather can be unpredictable, and given the prevalence of rain, road conditions can quickly go from dry to black ice. Driving during the winter months also comes with the added risk of traveling during the holidays. As we’ve discussed this month, December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, which is 31 days dedicated to raising awareness about the risks of driving intoxicated. However, that’s not all. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (specifically the week from Christmas to New Year’s) are the most dangerous of the entire year.

Shockingly, we see a 38 percent increase in fatalities during the holidays, and 34 percent more debilitating injuries. New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving also happen to be the most dangerous holidays of the year, bearing witness to a 95 percent increase in accidents on New Year’s Day alone. With this in mind, we want to ensure you have the knowledge and tools to stay safe this holiday season. If you are one of the record-breaking 115.6 million Americans traveling this holiday season, you must know how to stay safe. Of these 115 million, 104 million will be traveling by car. Even the most reliable drivers could use a little refresher when it comes to driving in the winter, especially if this isn’t the norm in your neck of the woods.

At Rad Law Firm, we strive to offer our clients information they can benefit from. Your health and safety matter to us. If you find yourself involved in a car accident this winter, give our Dallas personal injury law firm a call. We have extensive experience handling these types of cases and will do the same for you.

Winter Car Accident Statistics

Knowing how to stay safe when navigating the busy Texas roads is an absolute must. Before we look at the common causes of car accidents and tips for safe winter driving, let’s go over a few telling statistics:

  • One-third of all Americans travel during the holidays
  • Every year, the number of holiday travelers increases by 4.4 percent
  • More than 70 percent of U.S. roads are in snowy regions of the country
  • 17 percent of all car accidents occur in winter conditions
  • 1,838 people die every year on snow sidewalks or pavement
  • There are more than 156,164 car accidents every year attributed to icy road conditions
  • Over 1,300 people die every year in car accidents in snowy conditions
  • 70 percent of all fatal winter accidents involve one or more vehicles
  • 800 Americans die every single year in winter weather car accidents

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Accidents can happen at any time of year. But the holidays are more prone to accidents than in any other month. There are many reasons for this, from the boost in travelers to the increase of drugs and alcohol consumed during the holidays and inclement weather. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Reckless or negligent driving
  • Severe weather, such as rain or snow
  • Running red lights
  • Unsafe night driving
  • Unsafe lane changes

Winter Driving Tips

Undoubtedly, winter weather can cause severe issues for drivers. Not only can it make the roads less stable, but it can reduce visibility, adversely affect traffic, reduce traction, and increase the chance of an accident taking place. Before leaving your house in the winter, be sure to check the road conditions. The last thing you want is to get stuck or find yourself in the middle of a nasty accident because you didn’t look at the weather.

Although snowy roads and icy conditions may be more synonymous with a state like Colorado, Texas sees its fair share of unpleasant weather. From snow and sleet to ice, wind, and other winter weather conditions, car accidents happen at an alarming rate. The good news is that many winter car accidents can be avoided by following simple tips and being aware. Some of our top winter driving tips include:

  • Never drive tired or fatigued
  • Make sure you are well-rested before driving during the winter (or any time of the year)
  • Do not warm up your vehicle in an enclosed environment, like a garage
  • Check your tires and use snow tires during the winter, if applicable
  • Check your tire pressure and add more air if necessary
  • Make sure your gas tank is at least half-way filled at all times (this will help prevent the gas tank from freezing)
  • Avoid using your parking brake in snowy weather, if possible
  • Never use cruise control when driving on ice, snow, or slippery surfaces
  • Always wear your seat belt
  • Drive slowly
  • Accelerate and decelerate with ease to avoid skidding
  • Check your brakes and know how much pressure to apply to slow the vehicle down
  • Don’t stop if you can help it
  • Slow and steady wins the race – don’t power up hills
  • Increase the following distance, especially when sharing the roads with 18-wheelers
  • Use extra caution on ramps, overpasses, bridges, and any shaded areas
  • Don’t slam on the brakes, as this could cause you to lose control of the vehicle
  • Don’t stop when going up a hill
  • Check the weather
  • Inform someone else of your travels, especially if traveling alone
  • If you get stuck in the snow or ice, keep the following in mind:
    • Remain with your vehicle
    • Be visible
    • Make sure to pack an emergency kit
    • Clear the exhaust pipes
    • Stay warm and hydrated

Being involved in an accident of any kind can be stressful, especially during the holidays and cold winter months. If you find yourself in an accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Rad Law Firm. We offer free consultations and are here to help you understand your rights. No one ever thinks they are going to get in a car accident when they leave the house, but it happens.