With winter weather lasting for months in Massachusetts and throughout New England it is important to be prepared for driving in slick, icy, and snowy weather.
In 2020, there were an estimated 119,000 police-reported crashes that occurred in wintry conditions. An estimated 25,000 of those were injury crashes and 374 were fatal crashes. (https://www.nhtsa.gov/). These numbers seem daunting, but with the right tools you will be prepared for driving safely this winter.
Make sure Your Car is Winter Ready
- Tires- be sure to inspect your tires every so often for signs of wear, damage, and bumps. Ensure the tires are inflated to the correct and vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure. It might be handy to keep a tire gage in your car’s tool kit. If you notice any damage to your tires, take your car to a tire shop. You may also want to consider switching out your tires for snow tires for the winter season.
- Battery – In the cold your vehicle’s battery is working in less than ideal conditions, it will take more power to start. If you have an electric vehicle your drive range will be reduced. It is recommended you have your battery tested before the winter weather sets in.
- Engine Lights – While lights are a sign of the season, the ones on your dash are less than cheery. Take your vehicle to a shop to address any dash lights on. Many shops will perform the diagnosis for free.
- Other Lights – Be sure your headlights, high beams, turn signals, break lights, and hazard lights are all functioning correctly.
- Windshield Wipers – Replace any worn blades before you get stuck in a storm and cannot see! And top off your windshield washer fluid with a de-icing or winter formula. This will save time when warming your car.
Keep Emergency Supplies Stocked
Some winter weather supplies to put in your trunk for the season include: a snow shovel, ice scraper, kitty litter, blankets, gloves, a hat and an extra jacket. You read that right – kitty litter! Spread near your tires if you get stuck in the snow and your tires should grip the litter and set you free (trust me it works). Other items to keep in your car not just in the winter are jumper cables, flashlight, an extra phone charger, a portable battery, and even snacks and water.
Drive More Cautiously in the Winter
Remember speed limits are for clear ideal conditions- in the winter when the road is slick driving the speed limit may be dangerous. Slow down, be patient, give plows and sanding trucks space. Keep a greater distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you to avoid quick braking. Braking can take 10x longer to come to a stop in winter conditions. Accelerate and brake slowly to avoid skids and losing control. If you do not feel in control of your vehicle, slow down! And lastly do not drive distracted or under the influence. Stay alert and in control of your vehicle and be aware of the vehicles around you! Drive defensively to avoid crashes.
If You are in an Accident
Unfortunately planning ahead is all we can do. We are in control of our cars and prepared for storms, but accidents still happen. If you have injured in an accident this winter, call our office to set up a free consultation. (413) 746-4400.