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Tips for Driving Safely on Snowy Winter Roads


December 2019

Although there are more fatal car crashes during the summer months in the Upper Midwest than during the winter, the cold season holds potential for disaster on the roads. Blowing snow and icy roads can make driving particularly hazardous even if you consider yourself to be an incredibly safe driver. Be sure to follow these precautions for staying safe on snowy roads this winter.

Get Your Vehicle Ready to Go

Before you head out on the road, make sure you’ve cleaned any snow and ice off your car. Not only do you need to be able to see out your windows, but you’ll also avoid blinding drivers behind you with blowing snow from the roof of your car.

Slow Down and Increase Stopping Times

One of the most important things to remember on wintery roads is to slow down. It takes much longer to stop on snow and ice than it does on dry pavement, and quick braking could leave you spinning off the road and into a ditch. Moreover, resist tailgating, and turn your cruise control off.

Know How to React on the Ice

If you do find yourself skidding on an icy road, knowing how to react can help you avoid a serious accident. Start by easing off the accelerator and steering in the direction you are skidding. Apply gentle pressure to regular brakes and firm pressure to anti-lock brakes to slow you down.

Beware of Snowplows

Following a snowplow is completely different from following a personal vehicle. Plows kick up plenty of snow, creating blizzard-like conditions beside and behind them. Plus, the salt or sand that they are scattering could damage your car. Stay a minimum of five car lengths behind a plow and avoid passing them.

Stow Emergency Equipment in Your Vehicle

Before bad weather hits, stock your vehicle with some important safety equipment and personal gear to keep you safe in an emergency. Besides the ice scraper and snow brush that are handy to have in your trunk, bring along jumper cables, road flares, a first aid kit and a small candle in a can with a lighter. You can also bring sand or kitty litter, which can be used to provide traction under spinning tires. Be sure to include calorie-dense food items, such as dried fruits and granola, in case you become stranded. Finally, pack a trash bag filled with a blanket, insulated apparel, boots, a hat and a pair of gloves.

For more tips, visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety winter driving web page.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a snow-related vehicular accident, reach out to Schwebel, Goetz and Sieben, personal injury attorneys in Minneapolis. We work with clients throughout the Upper Midwest who have been injured in car accidents. Our legal team understands the stress, hardships and losses that are involved in any accident, and we promise to help you navigate even the most difficult of circumstances. Call our law firm today to for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help at 612-377-7777 or toll free at 1-800-752-4265.

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