How to Stay Safe on the Road During Winter 2018
When it comes to driving safely in Kansas City, are you prepared to take on wintery weather? Missouri straddles the line between the south, the Midwest, and the western plains, experiencing extreme weather from all of those regions. The state has the right combination of elements to create dangerous driving: snow and ice happen often, but not often enough that drivers know how to handle the roads with the same degree of efficiency as in more northern states. Additionally, ice storms and high winds occur.
With that in mind, it is imperative to thoroughly prepare for when you hit the road this winter. Here are five tips from our Kansas City accident attorneys to increase safety on the road.
Have a Vehicle Safety Checklist
A vehicle safety checklist is an excellent idea any time of year – especially winter. Some items on the checklist are common to every vehicle, while other items may be specific to your car and needs.
- Check the vehicle’s battery charge. Check the terminals for corrosion.
- Check fluids: oil, water, de-icing wiper fluid, transmission fluid, and brake fluid.
- Check that all tires at the correct psi and that a professional has inflated them properly.
Have Your Car Serviced
If your vehicle is overdue for an oil change, brake job, tire rotation, or tune up – the winter is the worst time to put it off. Cold temperatures and environmental moisture take a toll on vehicles, and preventative maintenance can help. Additionally, it keeps drivers abreast of problems under the hood.
If a storm or stall strands you in your car during the winter, having the right essentials is key. Stock the necessary items in the trunk or cargo area, in case of an emergency.
- Pack warm blankets.
- Leave a first aid kit in the car.
- Stock the vehicle with a jumping kit that includes cables and a power box.
- Bring along non-perishable, non-freezing snacks like crackers and meal bars.
- Stock your car with a few road flares and roadside reflectors.
Stay Home in Ice
This tip is less about safe driving and more about knowing when not to drive at all. When black ice covers the roads, the best driving practice is to not to drive at all. You likely do not have a place to be that is worth risking your life to get to. Unlike snow, it is nearly impossible to safely drive on black ice. Wait until the local weather channel reports it is safe to cautiously resume driving. If you must drive in snow or ice, it is best to drive well below the speed limit and to brake cautiously and well in advance.
Invest in Snow Tires
If you do not own a four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicle, the next best scenario for driving in the snow is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with good tires. Check to see if your current tires have good tread. Consider replacing tires with a higher quality, all-weather tread if you have not already done so.
Have Gear for Dangerous Situations
If you know you will be driving in ice and snow, keep cat litter and shovels in the trunk. When ice causes your vehicle to get stuck, cat litter at the site of the ice can cause it to melt and may help release your car. Similarly, a snow shovel is a vital tool if you get stuck in a snow bank.
Find more safe driving tips for avoiding accidents and dangerous situations this winter at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s site. Stay safe on the road this winter.
If you need additional driving safety tips or want to learn more about driving laws in Missouri, feel free to speak to one of our lawyers.