As we usher in a New Year the winter weather season is upon us in Minnesota. Of course, this time of year also comes with a change in the weather, something Minnesota residents know all too well. If you're planning to travel this winter, make sure you keep your wits about you. The roads can be treacherous when you have to contend with snow and ice.
You need only take a look at the news to see how winter driving can bring tragedy to unprepared motorists. December 2nd of 2013 was a particularly deadly one on Minnesota roads. In a 24 hour time span, there were four fatal crashes. Of course, one day serves as but a single example of what winter weather conditions can do to Minnesota drivers. If you take a step back from the magnifying glass, however, it's easy to see that this is a much more widespread epidemic. 2012 saw nearly 6,000 crashes on the snowy roads of the state. These crashes led to the deaths of 28 people along with more than 3,000 injuries.
The Minnesota State Patrol must be commended for stepping up their DWI enforcement over the holiday season, doubtlessly saving lives in the process. Between 2010 and 2012, more than 1,500 Minnesota drivers were arrested for Driving While Intoxicated during the Thanksgiving travel week. Under no circumstances should you get behind the wheel after drinking.
Here are five tips you should remember when it comes to safe winter driving in Minnesota:
#1 – Practice Avoidance
If you don't have to get behind the wheel in poor driving conditions, don't. Ask yourself if your destination is worth the risk.
#2 – Fasten Your Seatbelt
Seatbelts save lives. If you aren't a regular wearer, this is a good time to start getting into the habit. Not only will you improve your safety, you could avoid an expensive fine.
#3 – Assemble a Winter Weather Emergency Kit
To improve your chances of surviving the unexpected, equip your car with a few essential winter items. These items should include a pair of heavy boots, extra warm clothing, an ice scraper, a bag of kitty litter for getting your car unstuck from ice or snow, jumper cables, flashlights, and extra non-perishable food.
#4 – Slow Down
You can improve your winter driving tremendously by adjusting for the conditions. In most cases, this boils down to decreasing your speed. Keep a healthy distance between yourself and the car in front of you.
#5 – Learn to Recover From a Skid
The most important thing is to remain calm. When your car is skidding out of control, take your foot off the gas pedal, and pull the steering wheel toward your desired direction.
No matter how much care you put into your winter driving, the road offers no guarantees. If you have been hurt as the result of a winter driving accident, call Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben at (612) 377-7777 or toll-free at 1-800-752-4265 and set up a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys will fight tirelessly to defend your rights.