I’m Ed Smith, a Susanville Auto Accident Attorney. Northern California has a wide variety of weather conditions depending on the different regions. Here in Lassen County we tend to experience a little bit of everything from sunshine, hail, snow, heavy winds, and sleet. With winter upon us, it’s a good idea to take some time now to refresh your memory on some common driving tips and winter weather driving precautions. It’s time to get prepared – before the storm hits.
Safety should always come first
- Always make sure you are buckled in securely – and also each passenger.
- Stay up to date with current child car seat laws.
- Prepare an emergency car kit.
- Don’t use your mobile device while driving, if you need to check a message, answer a call or route yourself using GPS find a safe spot to pull over.
- If you’re on a long trip, share driving duties to avoid drowsy driving.
- If you feel like indulging in drinks, have a designated driver or taxi service prepared to take you home.
- In case of an auto accident, have your ID, insurance and medical insurance information handy.
- First responders need access to patient information. It’s a good idea to have a Medical Alert set up on your cell phone. Check your mobile phone manual for set up instructions.
- Program your emergency roadside service’s telephone number into your cell phone. You never know when you might need it.
Helpful Tips Before Winter Hits
- Always have chains in your vehicle. Check to make sure they are in working order and the correct size. It’s smart to practice in advance installing them before it starts to snow.
- Check your tires for adequate tread and proper inflation levels.
- Check on your antifreeze level to ensure your car engine is ready for the cooler weather.
- Adding concentrated windshield fluid can help prevent an icy windshield.
- Replace your cars windshield wipers before winter weather arrives.
- Have your defroster, heater, exhaust system, and brakes checked by a qualified mechanic.
Safety Tips For Winter Driving
- Stay on main roads. Try to avoid back roads during storms. Main roads are traveled more often, so if an emergency were to happen, you have a better chance of being able to get help. Especially, if you’re not able to call for assistance.
- If you get stuck in the snow, check to make sure your exhaust pipe doesn’t get covered in snow. Be alert for monoxide and exhaust problems. Snow can quickly block the pipe and the exhaust can go into your vehicle.
- Allow more time to arrive to your destination safely. Traveling at 55 mph may be safe in dry weather, but is dangerous in wet, icy weather.
- Remember: black ice is not always visible.
- Check to make sure the route you are planning to take isn’t closed. It’s a good idea to only drive when absolutely necessary. Keep someone informed of your travel itinerary and your estimated time of arrival (ETA). If possible, try not to travel alone. Travel with another person.
- Keep your gas tank full. You never know when you might need to turn back or take an alternate route, which could lead you farther away from a needed gas station to fill up.
- Have a window scraper and brush handy. It may be needed to stop at a safe turnout to clear your windows of accumulated ice and snow.
Safety Tips for Driving in Rainy Weather
- Watch for places where floodwater collects.
- Avoid driving through moving water. If the road cannot be seen through the water, your car may be swept away or traction lost. Driving through deep water can also cause damage to your car’s engine and electrical system.
- Give yourself plenty of time and room to brake should traffic come to a sudden stop.
- Stay towards the middle of the lane to avoid driving in pooling water that accumulates outside of the lanes.
- If your windshield wipers are on, headlights need to be on as well.
- Avoid using cruise control in icy or wet driving conditions.
- If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not turn suddenly or brake. Take your foot off the gas so your vehicle can slow down and you feel traction again. Keep your wheel turned towards the direction of the skid. Once traction is regained you can gently straighten the wheel.
- Be aware that loss of visibility can happen very quickly. Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
Susanville Auto Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Susanville Auto Accident Attorney. If you or someone you hold dear has been seriously injured in a car accident, please give me a call at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. When you call me, we will go over the details of your accident. If I think we are a good match for one another and your case is a good one, I will pay for you to travel to my Sacramento office and take care of your overnight lodging expense.
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Source of Winter Driving – http://www.ots.ca.gov/OTS_and_Traffic_Safety/Traffic_Safety_Tips/winter_driving_tips.asp
Photograph Attribution: Wikimedia Commons (winter.jpg) images inside the public domain