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How to drive in winter weather?

By on Dec 11, 2020 in blog, Car Accidents, Personal Injury |

How to drive in winter weather?

It happens every year; those small white snowflakes come in the thousands and even millions and coat the mountains, ground and roads of Utah. Yet, it seems that some people are unaware of the best techniques for how to drive in winter weather. This lack of knowledge may come from never living in a snowy area or from ignorance that driving in the snow is completely different than every day driving. Whether the before mentioned statement describes you or if you just feel the need to refresh your knowledge of how to drive in winter weather, this is the blog post for you!

 

Step 1: SLOW DOWN

 

The first piece of advice on how to drive in winter weather is to slow down. This first point should always be heeded when you are hit with winter driving in Utah: slow down! Even if it is not actively snowing you should slow down. Utah roads are infamous for their black ice. This can occur at any time, even if it has not snowed in a few days. In fact, black ice often occurs when snow on the side of the road melts during the day, but then freezes at night on the roadway.

Black ice is a layer of ice that is so thin you can see the asphalt below it, but this does not make it less dangerous. In fact, black ice can be more dangerous as it more easily forms on bridges and overpasses. In fact, “black ice claims more lives than salmonella” each year. https://weloveweather.tv/black-ice/

When snow is falling in Utah, it is especially important to slow down. Visibility is significantly affected during snow storms. The falling snow makes distances hard to see and judge as your headlights reflect off the falling flakes. In addition to difficulty seeing, snow storms affect the tires traction on the road. Utah roads become increasingly slippery and icy during a snow storm.

 

  1. ADD SPACE & STOPPING DISTANCE

 

The second piece of advice on how to drive in winter weather is to add space and stopping disctance. Winter driving in Utah can be a test of patience. However, it is much better to be patient and give other drivers additional space. You may be a safe winter driver, but you can never know the driving ability of the people around you. Geico Insurance recommends that you allow at least eight to ten seconds of distance between you and the driver in front of you. This is because stopping in winter driving conditions can take almost double the time. (https://www.geico.com/living/driving/auto/car-safety-insurance/how-to-minimize-risk-on-the-road-during-a-winter-storm/)

The above mentioned tips apply to stop lights and intersections in Utah too. You must allow additional time to come to a full stop at an intersection. It is never a good idea to speed through intersections during the winter. In Utah, your car may not be the only car that will have difficulty stopping.

 

  1. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY SITUATIONS

 

The third piece of advice on how to drive in winter weather is to be prepared for slippery situations. If you drive at all in the winter in Utah you will experience sliding. Ice, snow and slush all make it hard for your tires to grip the road. You must plan ahead and know what you are going to do in the situation before it happens. Your actions all need to be calm and intentionally made when you are sliding. It is important that you do not jerk the steering wheel. Often people attempt to quickly turn the other way to counteract the sliding. This can cause the vehicle to roll or spin out of control. It is important that you stay calm. Take your foot off the accelerator. Slowly press down on the brakes. If your anti-lock brakes don’t engage or you don’t have anti-lock brakes, you will need to pump the brakes. This is done by quickly alternating between pressing and letting up brake pedal. If necessary, slowly steer the car away from other objects. Once your vehicle has adequately slowed down your tires will once again connect with the Utah road and you will be on your way.

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  1. KNOW WHEN IT’S BEST TO REST

 

The fourth piece of advice on how to drive in winter weather is to know when it’s best to rest.  Everyone who has driven in the winter in Utah knows how quickly conditions can go from perfectly fine to disastrously bad. Utah snow storms can get very intense in a matter of minutes. Sometimes the best option is to pull over to the side of the road and wait out the storm or to delay starting your trip for a few hours. Waiting for 30 minutes to an hour is far better than spending years recovering from an accident.

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED

 

Unfortunately accidents can happen even when you do your best to drive safely. It is important to remain calm if you are involved in an accident during a winter snow storm in Utah. Make sure you get the appropriate medical treatment. Also, it may be advantageous to reach out to a lawyer. An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of car insurances, both your insurance and the other drivers insurance. An attorney can also make sure you are not left with a heavy load of medical bills as you try to regain your health. If you have questions feel free to reach out. We can review your case and let you know your options free of charge! Call us today- 801-738-9999. https://myutahinjurylawyer.com/myths-about-hiring-a-car-accident-lawyer/

 

Remember, winter driving in Utah is much different than everyday driving. Keep safe by slowing down, allowing more space and stopping distance, being prepared to react calmly, and knowing when to stop and wait it out. Winter in Utah is a beautiful and exciting time to be in and around the Wasatch Mountains, please be safe and help everyone enjoy the season! We hope you enjoyed our tips on how to drive in winter weather.