For better or for worse, wintry weather is pretty much a fact of life in Indiana. Slick driving conditions are always going to be dangerous, but you don’t have to make things any worse than they need to be. Here are some tips to keep everyone a little safer when the roads aren’t ideal.
- Don’t drive unless you have to.
If you don’t need to drive, stay off the roads. Work remotely, if possible. Get groceries in advance, or just make do with what you have. Reschedule whatever appointments you can to avoid the worst of the danger.
- Give yourself extra travel time.
If it takes 30 minutes to get to work, then give yourself an hour. You’re going to have to shovel the driveway. You’re going to have to scrape your car. Traffic is going to be slower. Just give yourself enough time to make sure you can get where you need to go without rushing.
- Prepare your vehicle.
Fill up on fuel and washer fluid ahead of time. Have some water and snacks in your car. Put a blanket in there. If you have traction control, turn it on.
- Drive slowly.
Going slowly makes you more likely to keep control of your vehicle. Driving at a slower rate of speed also gives you extra time to react to other drivers who may not be taking the weather into account.
- Keep more distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
Vehicles take longer to stop because the tires have less friction. You might be driving more slowly, but you still need to apply the brakes sooner. Whether we realize it or not, we all go into autopilot at times when we drive. We’re used to breaking at a certain distance before stoplights. Consciously make the decision to break this routine and give yourself extra distance.
- Expect slowed vehicle reaction.
Your vehicle’s going to take longer to get through the intersection because of the snow and ice. You’re going to take longer to navigate the turn. Going through a light that just turned yellow might have been okay before, but it could be disaster when you’re doing it on snow and ice.
- Assume that other drivers are not being careful.
This is always a good strategy, but it’s even more important in bad weather. Don’t expect other drivers are going to stop at the light. When it turns green, look in every direction and in every lane. Watch yourself at intersections, especially if you’re hanging out there in the left turn lane. Assume that other drivers are not paying attention, and do your best to drive defensively.
- Be courteous.
A little courtesy can go a long way, but it’s extra effective when driving in snow and ice. Don’t be the guy flying down the road at or above the speed limit because you “know how to drive in the snow” or because you have four-wheel drive and don’t need to adjust. Those kinds of people are selfish. They’re dangerous. They can sometimes cause crashes by forcing other drivers to react quickly.
We all pay for the roads, and we all have to share them. Your kindergarten teacher was right—share and be nice. The number one purpose of injury law is safety. Let’s all do our part and make the world a safer place. If you have any questions, give us a call, 317-632-3642.