In Homestead and Southern Florida, we don’t have to worry about winter driving and winter car collisions very much. We are fortunate enough to be able to forget about ice, snow, and blizzards most years. However, if you are driving to other parts of the country for the holidays, you may be driving through winter weather.
If you are used to driving in Southern Florida weather, you may not be used to snow and ice. In fact, you may be more vulnerable because you have less winter driving experience. To stay safe, make sure you:
1) Check your car.
Have a qualified mechanic give your car a thorough inspection to ensure it can handle winter driving. Replace windshield fluid with fluid designed to withstand cold temperatures and top up your anti-freeze. Make sure your windshield wipers are in good shape and sturdy enough to handle ice and heavy snow.
2) Get your tires ready.
Tires grip the road and in ice and snow can mean the difference between a car accident and a safe drive. Replace all-season tires with winter tires if you will be driving in snow or on ice. Winter tires have deeper treads and will grip the road more firmly, even in slick conditions. If you will be driving in rural areas or on unpaved wintry roads, invest in studded tires or tire chains. Studded tires have tiny spikes which dig into the ice. Tire chains fit over the tires and offer some added traction on unpaved, icy roads.
3) Update your phone and apps.
Make sure you have a reliable phone and keep the batteries charged. If you are stranded in a blizzard, the cold can be a serious danger so you will want to have some way of calling for help. Update your apps so you can get updated weather information. In winter weather, this can help you decide when you need to stay off the roads.
4) Pack your car with a winter kit.
If you are stuck in your car in cold weather, especially for a longer period of time, you could be at risk for frostbite and other dangers. Being stuck in a car after your ca has gone off the road in snow can even prove fatal. A winter kit can ensure you have the tools on hand to keep yourself safe.
Your winter kit should include flares or cones to alert others your car has broken down. It should also include food, warm clothes and a blanket to keep warm. A warm sleeping bag can also be a great precaution that can help you survive if your car gets stuck.
5) Make sure you are ready for winter driving.
If you have never driven on ice and snow, get some advice and a lesson or two from a professional instructor who has experience with winter driving. Keep in mind winter driving will require additional effort, so only attempt it if you are well-rested and alert.
When planning your trip, make sure you leave lots of extra time for the weather. As soon as you encounter winter weather you will need to slow down. Even with the best winter tires, you will take longer to stop and you will need to adjust your driving speed for this.
6) Consider leaving the driving to someone else.
If you are not used to winter driving, relying on planes and other drivers who do have winter driving experience may be a better option. Call your destination ahead and find out about flights, shuttles, mass transit and other options available to you.
If you have been injured in a traffic accident due to someone’s negligence, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our offices in Homestead, Hollywood and Miami serve the entire South Florida area.