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Winter Driving Safety Tips

Published: Feb 13, 2023 in Auto Accident
Belleville Car Wreck Lawyers at the Cates Law Firm Hold Negligent Drivers Accountable.

Long nights and freezing weather make the winter months the most dangerous time of year to drive. Belleville averages 10 inches of snowfall every year, but just one snowstorm could surpass that total.

Any amount of precipitation can create bad road conditions that make an accident more likely to occur, especially when the temperature is below freezing. Fortunately, just a few simple and affordable precautions could help to insulate you against wintertime driving dangers.

Maintain Your Vehicle

You cannot drive safely at any time if your vehicle is in disrepair. Before the first subfreezing temperatures occur, inspect your vehicle to ensure it is in top shape for wintertime driving.

Many people have the unpleasant experience of waking up to a dead car battery on the first cold night each year. You can prevent that by having a technician perform a battery test to ensure it will take a full charge and replace it if it does not.

Check the lights and replace any burned-out bulbs or bad fuses that might prevent them from working. Long and cold nights that might bring snow, requiring new bulbs so that you can see and be seen while driving.

Check the Antifreeze, Wiper Blades, and Washer Fluid

Check the hoses and hose clamps to ensure they are in good condition.

If the antifreeze is old, you should flush and fill the coolant and replace any hoses or clamps that are in bad shape. While under the hood, you also should top off the windshield washer fluid reservoir with fluid that contains a deicing agent.

Worn wiper blades also require replacement if they are not moving water, snow, or road grime out of the way. New wiper blades will help to keep your vision clear while driving.

Balance and Rotate the Tires

You need tires with good tread to help maintain traction while driving in winter weather. Many tire shops offer free wheel rotation and tire balancing services, while others charge just a nominal amount to do so.

A technician can inspect the tread for wear and tear and can replace any bad tires. Once you have four good tires, the technician can balance and rotate them so that you have a smooth ride with good traction.

Increase Following Distances and Watch for Ice

Winter driving often involves cold and snowy roadways with patches of ice. Cold tires in winter do not grip the roadway as well as they would during the summer. To compensate for decreased traction, increase your following distance to compensate for the longer distances that it takes to stop safely. Instead of a two-second gap, maintain about a four-second gap when driving over 40 mph.

Watch for ice on the roadway. Bridges and overpasses always freeze over faster than sections of roads that pass over land, so you should slow down a bit whenever approaching them.

Be wary of black ice, which is hard to see but often will reflect the sunlight or your headlights at night. If a section of the road looks shiny, you might be approaching an icy patch that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Belleville Car Wreck Lawyers at the Cates Law Firm Hold Negligent Drivers Accountable

If your best efforts to prevent wintertime accidents fail, the experienced Belleville car wreck lawyers at The Cates Law Firm can help. You can call 618-277-3644 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation at our law office in Swansea, Illinois. We represent clients in Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.