Updated on May 23, 2019.
When it comes to seasonal driving, winter is by far the most demanding for motorists in Colorado. New drivers often find it horrifying, and even the most experienced drivers find it precarious at times. The reason for this is simple: cars have poor to mediocre traction on snow or ice-covered roads. This poor traction affects your steering, braking, and acceleration, all of which are critical in order to drive safely.
Here at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we want everyone to get through the winter months safely. Here are five driving tips that will help you on the road:
Check Your Defroster, Wipers, and Wiper Fluid Reservoir
What’s worse than driving on treacherous roads filled with snow and ice? Driving on these precarious roads and not being able to see through your windshield. When it is snowing and the traffic ahead is kicking salt and slush into your windshield, your wipers need to keep your windshield clean and streak-free. Wiper fluid is critical for ensuring that your window is clean of salt residue. Don’t allow your wiper fluid reservoir to run low. Your defroster is necessary for keeping your windshield clear of frost, which would prevent a clear view of the road. We strongly recommend making sure your defroster and heater are in full working order before the winter months arrive.
Drive Slowly and Smoothly
The poor traction crated by icy conditions means that hard braking, turning, and acceleration are not possible. The safest option is to drive slowly so that hard braking and hard turning are unnecessary. Try not to place yourself in a situation where you must accelerate quickly or make a hard turn to get out of danger. The traction of your vehicle will not allow it, and oncoming cars will not have the traction to stop or maneuver to avoid an accident.
Look Farther Down the Road and Increase Following Distances
When the roads are slippery and covered in ice, the distance it takes to safely stop a vehicle increases. To account for this, you must look farther down the road to anticipate problems well in advance. Quickly hitting the brakes or swerving at the last second are luxuries that you do not have while driving on a cold winter highway. This also means you must increase your following distance so that you can safely respond to the movements of the car in front of you.
Turn in the Direction of the Skid
If your car begins to slide or fishtail, you may be going too fast for the icy conditions. The last thing you should do if you find yourself skidding is to hit your brakes. Braking while you are in a slide will induce more sliding and make it more difficult to pull out and regain control of your vehicle. If your rear wheels start sliding, take your foot off the gas pedal and steer in the direction of the slide. This will get the front wheels and the back wheels aligned again, and the car should even out. When turning out of a skid, be cautious not to overcorrect, as this my cause you to lose control of your vehicle further.
Know How to Brake
When braking, on an icy road be sure to allow yourself time to begin braking as soon as possible. If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply and maintain firm pressure to the brake pedal when attempting to stop. If you don’t have ABS, you will have to gently tap the brakes repeatedly, so they do not lock on you when attempting to slow down.
Did Someone Collide with You on an Icy Road? Call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how safely you drive on a winter road; accidents happen. When they do, you need a veteran Colorado winter weather vehicle accident attorney to make sure you get justice. The Tenge Law Firm, LLC, provides injured motorists with a free consultation to learn more about their rights and options. We encourage perspective clients to ask questions about how we handle cases, and we can offer our opinion about whether you have a case that is actionable. Call us at (303) 665-2929 to schedule a consultation. We have offices in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins.