As a Fort Worth injury lawyer, I know the DFW metroplex sees an extraordinary range of weather conditions ranging from blistering heat, to heavy sleet and hail, to treacherous ice – even tornadoes.
Although some of these might be extreme examples, driving in any type of bad weather increases the potential for a serious accident to occur. Hopefully, the following advice will help you to avoid wreck or injury.
Tip #1: Don’t Travel If You Can Avoid It
This is so simple that most people overlook it. But if you don’t have to go out, then you’re better off staying at home. I realize that cabin fever can strike after a couple of days being stuck indoors, but at least you’re not going to crash your car while you’re sitting on your couch.
Tip #2: Be Prepared
If you absolutely must travel in adverse weather conditions, it is important that you are prepared to do so. Conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection of your vehicle to make sure that all your tires (including your spare) are properly inflated, all fluids are filled, all your lights work, and that you’ve got as close to a full tank of gas as possible. Also make sure that you have an emergency kit in your car containing a flashlight, warm blanket, windshield scraper, and other necessities.
Tip #3: Be Visible
The biggest threat when driving in bad weather is not actually the weather itself, but other drivers. In order to reduce the risk of a collision, you should do everything possible to make sure that other motorists see you. Drive with your lights on and slow down.
Tip #4: Take Your Time
Driving in icy, snow or rain presents a number of challenges not normally faced by North Texas motorists, so it’s important that you recognized the increased hazards and drive appropriately. Slow down so that you have additional time to react to any upcoming hazards.
Tip #5: Give Yourself Extra Space
Allowing more space between yourself and the vehicle in front allows you greater opportunity to stop in an emergency, much like driving at a slower speed will. Also, avoiding getting too close to other vehicles also means you’re more likely to stay out of the path of other idiot drivers who think they can continue to drive as recklessly as usual.
Tip #6: Hold Your Steering Wheel Firmly
Driving in poor weather conditions means you need to pay extra attention to the task at hand, because a sudden gust of wind or patch of black ice could cause you to lose control. Hold your steering wheel firmly in order to keep your vehicle as steady as possible. Also, avoid sudden swerves or sharp turns.
Tip #7: Use Caution When Braking and Accelerating
A light touch goes a long way in bad weather. In icy conditions, it’s actually better to shift down a gear if you start to skid, rather than trying to brake. Alternatively, try lightly pumping the brake to avoid spinning out. If you have ABS brakes, pressing and holding down the brake should prevent your wheels from locking.
Tip #8: Look Ahead For Hazards
Patches of black ice aren’t always easy to detect, so it’s important that you always look ahead for any potential upcoming hazards. Keep an eye on the vehicle ahead and be extra cautious when approaching bridges, ramps and overpasses where ice is most likely to form in freezing conditions.
Tip #9: Pull Over If You Have To
If the weather worsens to the point where the visibility decreases or you just don’t feel safe, then pull over to the side of the road and switch on your hazard lights. Make sure that you are far over to the side of the road as possible – and never, ever stop in the middle of the roadway.
Tip #10: Stay In Your Vehicle
If the weather is really bad and you get stranded, make sure that you don’t leave your vehicle. You are more likely to keep warm and get found if you stay close to the road. Use your cellphone to call for help. To preserve gas, run your engine for just ten minutes per hour, and try to move about to preserve body heat the rest of the time.
Making an Injury Claim After a Bad Weather Crash
Unfortunately, no matter how careful a driver you might be in bad weather conditions, not every driver will be. Accidents happen. If you or someone you love has been injured in a wreck caused by another driver’s negligence, contact the board-certified personal injury attorneys at the Anderson Injury Lawyers to find out if you can make a claim.