With the cooperation of El Nino, The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting a winter with typically above normal temperatures and lower amounts of snowfall. Although many may welcome this as wonderful news, there will be a time when driving conditions may worsen as winter looms on the Windy City’s horizon.
As many Chicagoans brace for even the hint of winter, NBC News recently offered various safe winter driving tips that may help when winter weather does touch down.
As noted by the news organization, November through March can be quite challenging when it comes to winter driving. Highways become jammed with Snowbirds heading south, business travels, winter sport enthusiasts, holiday vacationers, foreign visitors, and traveling students.
If your winter plans include joining in on the fun, NBC News offers the following safety tips to not only ease your winter driving concerns but to safeguard you against an unpredictable car accident.
Stay the Course
Check the weather forecast when preparing for your winter excursion and become familiar with your route. The Department of Transportation offers weather-related hotlines and posts temporary road closures and adverse conditions.
Even though winter evokes a thirst for a hot beverage, drinking plenty of water can keep you alert. The Mayo Clinic suggests that even a 1 to 2 percent loss of body weight through dehydration can cause fatigue. Alleviate this situation by carrying up to six bottles of water in your vehicle.
Food Equals Energy
Even though your winter trip may be short, keeping your body nourished in cold weather is actually more productive than in the summer months. NBC warns against a quick fix, such as a candy bar or foods high in sugar. Keeping a sandwich or thermos of soup can ease your wait if stranded in a sudden storm.
Pack a Survival Kit
Plan for the unexpected by ensuring your cell phone is fully charged. Additionally, pack an ice scraper and brush, a tow rope, cat litter for traction, a blanket, a flashlight, and even a candle with a box of matches.
Waiting the Storm Out
If you need to pull over or are involved in a traffic jam or car accident, remain calm, stay warm, and wait for assistance. It is important to ensure that your exhaust system is clear of snow or ice to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
Maintaining Vehicle Maintenance
Winter vehicle maintenance is key. During the winter months, tire pressure is reduced. Therefore checking your tires before a winter trip is imperative. Moreover, tire tread should be at least ⅛ inch thick. Therefore, consider purchasing snow tires if you live in a high precipitation area.
Adjust Your Driving Method
If caught in adverse weather, reduce your driving speed by 50 percent; however, do not go too slow. This adjustment could cause an accident and your car needs adequate momentum to keep moving through snow-covered roads.
During winter, skids and loss of vehicle control are often the reason winter driving increases car accident percentages. It is important to know how to handle a skid when braking on a slippery road. The first rule of thumb is to avoid “locking” your wheels by stepping on the brakes too hard. When entering into a skid, steer your vehicle in the direction of where you want the front of your vehicle to go and avoid braking.
Take a Break
Although driving in the winter months can raise anxiety levels, keep white knuckle driving at bay to decrease your apprehension. Additionally, winter driving can cause an increase in fatigue. Take a break every hour or so and exit your car and to relax and stretch. By doing this, your level of alertness will increase and your fatigue level will decrease.
As Chicagoans brace for winter with the hopes that the NWS weather prediction for the 2015-2016 season holds true, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration reminds everyone that adverse weather conditions are responsible for up to 23 percent of the nation’s reported vehicle accidents.
If you become the victim of a weather-related car accident this winter season, do not leave your fate in the hands of an insurance company. The experienced DuPage County personal injury attorneys of Mevorah Law Offices LLC have experience navigating the insurance system to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement. Contact one of our convenient Chicagoland locations today.
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