The 2017-2018 winter season has, thus far, been defined by its fluctuations in the weather. The year started out with frigid temperatures and a recent bomb cyclone, which covered the entire East Coast in mounds of snow. Back in the fall, NBC Connecticut reported that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted this season to be a La Niña winter. That means colder temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the Equator will result in a warmer than average winter here in Connecticut. This could bring us a mixture of wet, slushy conditions and slippery roads.
Precautions you should take
AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:
- Avoid driving while you're fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest reduces the risk of drowsy driving.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
- Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent it from freezing up.
- If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
- Always look and steer in the direction you are traveling.
- Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
For long-distance trips during the winter, AAA stresses the importance of preparation and ensuring that your vehicle is able to perform in such weather. Drivers should watch weather forecasts for regions they plan to travel to and delay driving if the weather presents a severe risk. There should also be adequate supplies in the car in case unexpected circumstances result in being stranded on the highway or isolated area. Should this happen, drivers and occupants should stay with their vehicles, as they provide shelter from the cold.
Safety should be your first priority
They also provided general tips for driving in the snow if it is unavoidable:
- Drive, accelerate and decelerate slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping and turning won't happen as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
- Following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you should be increased from eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have anti-lock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold braking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- When going up hills, don't try to power your way up. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. Once you have momentum, don't slow down or stop, as this may result in the car rolling back or getting stuck.
- If possible, stay home. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. If you don't have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
If driving during the winter is unavoidable and you are involved in an accident, you still have rights that need to be protected. Contact The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Our team will work to help you recover.