Car Crash Attorney
Car Crash Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car crash attorney. The holidays are officially upon us. Many regions of the United States have already had their first major snowfall since the fall season began. With inclement weather and more cars and trucks on our roadways, we are bound to see an increase in auto accidents and motorcycle accidents. With that thought on our minds, let’s think about ways to reduce the risk.
Distracted Drivers and Drunk Drivers – Oh My!
It’s okay to keep crossing your fingers for safe travel, but what about the distracted drivers and drunk drivers we have to share the road with? Who is going to keep us safe from them? Thankfully, many cities like Sacramento, Roseville, Elk Grove and Stockton beef up their safety campaigns during the holiday season. These localities go after distracted and drunk drivers hard. This is evidenced by the many sobriety check points we see during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. We are thankful to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for all they do to monitor our roadways for drunk drivers and obsessive texters. Of course, none of us do that kind of thing!
Tips for Safer Travel
If you’re hitting the road this Thanksgiving or Christmas, or anytime for that matter, don’t drink and drive. Use Uber or Lyft. Or, arrange a designated driver. We all know someone who abstains from alcohol. Put that person to use this holiday season and save yourself the risk of losing your ability to drive or endangering the life of an innocent person. You’d be surprised how many people who don’t drink are eager to be of service.
Inclement Weather Driving Trips
Remember these very helpful inclement weather driving tips. You may already know about many of these tips, but we are listing them again. You never know when you might be driving behind a sudden big rig accident or similar traffic hazard. Having your car in tip-top shape is just one more way to protect yourself and those who are traveling with you in your vehicle.
Before it snows
Proper maintenance of your car or truck can make all the difference when driving during the holidays in the snow. Most auto shops, mechanics or dealerships where you take your car for service can “winterize” your vehicle. This means they will check all vital fluids and internal parts of your car. They will inspect your coolant system and make sure the battery is working properly. They can also replace windshield wipers for you. Your treads may be healthy but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your tires. A good mechanic will check that your tires are properly inflated. They may even advise you to carry a good air gauge so that you can monitor your car’s recommended inflation pressure. You can typically find this information printed on a sticker on the inside of your vehicle door.
Ice Scrapers, Chains, Cables, Snow Tires
Don’t forget to purchase an ice scraper, snow chains and/or cables for winter travel. If you prepare in advance you won’t have any surprises or have to pay an arm and leg to get someone to sell you chains and install them as you try to make your way over the pass. Snow tires are so helpful in areas that get pounded by heavy snow. Even when you’re driving in a region like California that sees only minimal snowfall annually, spending the money on a decent set of all-season tires is a good idea.
Check the Weather Simply By Going Online
It is wise to confirm the weather before you hit the road. Obvious as this simple tip might be, it’s crucial to know what’s coming weather wise – or what might be coming. Roads may be dry and clear when you head out, but it may be totally different when you are midway or returning home from your destination. Check for weather updates regularly. See if you can plan your travel accordingly. There are tons of apps that are available on our devices that can keep us advised of road closures, chain advisories, snow fall, etc.
Staying Calm During Inclement Road Conditions
If you drive onto a fresh layer of snow and you fear conditions are worsening, stay calm. These tips may help reduce your chances of having a motor vehicle accident:
- Maintain traction by decelerating and accelerating slowly, also initiate your turns slowly.
- Know your brakes well, and don’t stop if you can avoid it. Losing intertia while manuevering through the snow can cause trouble for you when you try to accelarate once again. This can happen as you come up on stoplights or stop signs. You may want to get a feeling for slowly rolling until such a time that it’s safe to pass through an intersection.
- Keeping inertia is equally important for hills. Powering up hills and other inclines can cause you to spin out and lose control of your vehicle. Braking means you might not get your vehicle moving once again. Head up those hills with enough power to make the climb without using the pedals.
- Put plenty of distance between you and other vehicles.
Emergency Car Kit
If you do get stranded, a well-packed emergency car kit can make the time pass more comfortably. You may need a shovel or ice scraper to dig your way out of a winter-weather situation. Having extra blankets, coats and gloves to keep warm is beneficial. Flashlights, batteries, reflective markers, flares and jumper cables may be included in your kit. Pack necessities such as a phone charger, extra medicine, food and drinking water. These items will come in handy if you have to sit for a while.
Don’t Venture Out for the Holidays
If you don’t have the time to take the time to do the suggested winter car maintenance and purchasing of winter weather driving gear or emergency car kits, just stay home. Let others with 4-wheel drives make their way to your house for the holidays. Or at least share the burden of holiday travel and alternate who goes where each year.
What About When Roads Get Really Treacherous?
We are so fortunate here in California. What about folks in the foothills and mountains? It’s easy to think we must absolutely get to work or reach that other crucial destination like the grocery store or mall in our constantly-on-the-move lives we lead. However, suppressing those urges to show up at the jobsite or mall should be tempered with common sense. When the roads get completely covered in ice, water or snow and visibility is compromised, even the best SUVs can falter and even the safesty of drivers can make tragic mistakes. We think that no drive is worth it if it means we risk our own life and the lives of others.
The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith wishes you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.
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