According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 76,000 people nationwide are injured in car accidents due to snow or sleet. Dealing with this enormous safety concern costs nearly $2.3 billion annually and can account for up to 20% of a state’s department of transportation budget for the year.
Scott County averages 8 inches of snow in the months from November to March each year. While this is less snow than many locations in the United States, it is still smart to take extra precautions in those months to avoid an accident. Especially in places that rarely see snow, this weather can be one of the most dangerous for drivers who are not sure how to respond. To avoid an accident, follow these safety tips for driving in snowy conditions.
1. Check tire pressure before driving in snow or ice.
Cold temperatures can lower tire pressure, and underfilled tires are slower to respond to corrections from the steering wheel. When driving at highway speeds, underfilled tires are also more likely to blow, which can cause serious damage to your car. Despite the urban legend that deflated tires will give you more traction, you are better off with your tires at the recommended psi.
2. Maintain windshield wipers and defroster in top condition through the winter months.
Low visibility is a common reason for winter accidents. Your defroster is your first line of defense against a frozen windshield that may obscure all sorts of road hazards.
3. Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front.
The three-second rule works well for fair-weather days, but it may not be enough when ice is involved. Ice causes trouble when you have to brake quickly. Leave plenty of space between you and any car ahead to avoid rear-end accidents.
4. Pay close attention to shaded or low areas.
Shaded areas or low areas such as a bridge often carry ice even when the rest of the road is clear. Drive especially carefully on shaded roads or on roads near running water.
Hopefully your drive is a winter wonderland! In case it is not, however, now is also a good time to review what to do after an accident.