Winter Driving Safety Tips for New Yorkers and New Jersey Residents
Before you get behind the wheel there are several tips you should take to prevent causing a car crash. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration warns during winter months it’s especially important to pay attention to your vehicle’s battery, wipers, coolant, tires and other systems that can take a beating when the temperature drops. Regardless of the season it’s good idea to have an emergency kit in your vehicle that contains a flashlight, road flares, a blanket, and kitty litter or sand, which can help if your tires get struck in the snow or slush.
Aside from ongoing maintenance it’s important to make sure your car is clear of snow and ice before you start driving. Ice and snow flying off your car can severely limit visibility and can cause distractions for you and other drivers. It could hit and damage other vehicles and/or cause a crash.
One of the best ways to prevent being injured in a car crash during a winter storm is to refrain from driving all together. Before you go out on icy or snowy roads consider if it is absolutely crucial to do so. If you do have to drive during a winter storm be sure to leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Even if the roads appear clear there could be black ice, which will prevent you from stopping quickly. Your speed should match the road conditions, often times the speed limit posted is not a safe speed to travel during winter weather events.
When the storm is over beware of icy roads caused by blowing and drifting snow and keep in mind bridges and ramps typically freeze before road surfaces.
In the winter, when the days shorten, the brain produces more melatonin, making us feel more tired. Being tired behind the wheel is extremely dangerous, according to the National Safety Council you are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued.
Driving behaviors that are unsafe year round are especially hazardous during winter weather conditions. Driving distracted, driving without a seatbelt, and speeding just a few dangerous driving behaviors that are directly linked to motor vehicle fatalities.
One final bit of advice: snowplow crews are on the road to keep us safe, give them plenty of room to do their jobs. Snowplows often don’t have a great field of vision, so even if you see them they may not see you.