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 tail lights 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 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!