Has a car ever passed you loaded with ice or snow – in fact so loaded as to make you wonder how the driver of that vehicle could see to drive?
Have you ever been driving along only to have a large piece of hardened snow or a piece of ice come flying off another vehicle, hitting yours? How scary is that when that debris comes off a big truck??
Frightening – right? Easy to see how either example could result in a serious car accident.
Did you know that many states, including Connecticut, have passed laws making it illegal to drive a motor vehicle covered in accumulated ice or snow?
So what can you do to avoid a car accident on Connecticut roads this winter? Here are some time-tested steps to consider:
- Prepare for winter by getting your car ready first. Check your tires and wiper blades for wear, make sure all your lights are functioning properly, and top off all fluids – especially your washer fluids.
- If you park your car outside, always clear frost off the windows before moving your vehicle. If there has been icing or snow since you were last in your car – remove that ice and snow from all surfaces, including the hood, trunk, and roof before you begin your travels. That’s the law.
- Always clear off your headlights and taillights and turn your headlights on when driving in inclement weather to improve the chances you will be seen.
- Travel at reduced speeds – speeds that match the conditions. Always leave extra distance between your car and the car in front of you.
- Begin braking well before a full stop is required.
- Carefully monitor road conditions at all times. There will be times when temperatures drop below the freezing mark before you notice the change and roads that were once ice-free will become covered with black ice. Don’t let that happen to you.
- If you encounter dangerously icy roads – pull over carefully as soon as possible and wait for the state or municipal trucks to apply salt and sand -unless your car has chains or studded tires. It doesn’t matter whether you drive a four-wheel or two-wheel drive vehicle – icy roads are just plain dangerous.
- Be aware that overpasses and bridges freeze before other parts of the road and approach them with caution.
- Never drink and drive and never use a cell phone while driving. Keep your full attention on the road in front of you – and the vehicles in front and behind you.
- When driving in the winter, drive defensively and always consider “what if” scenarios so that you have a reaction plan in case something goes wrong.
Accidents happen – but by following these winter driving tips, you will improve your odds of staying safe!