A recent cold snap in Florida and across much the Eastern US this past week has worried many people. Parts of West Palm Beach, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale set near-record lows on overnight forecasts and many tourists and residents were shivering during the day in 27-degree wind chill. Parts of Virginia and Kentucky saw snow.
Unfortunately, such conditions create severe problems for drivers. Even if Florida does not see snow, most drivers in the state may not be ready to drive in icy temperatures. This can cause a spike in car accidents in the upcoming few days. Parts of New York and Vermont have already reported increased car accident rates and personal injury rates.
Florida drivers may not be prepared for driving in icy temperatures. When driving on cold roads, it is important to slow down. Even if roadways look clear and no snow or ice is visible, it is important to keep in mind that even tiny amounts of water on the roads can freeze in icy conditions.
Unfortunately, many Florida drivers do not have winter tires – required by drivers in snowier states. Winter tires provide extra grip and some even have metal studs to better grip the roadway through ice and snow. If your car is not equipped with snow tires, slow down and use extra caution. If ice is reported on the roads, you may be safer staying inside rather than driving. Summer tires simply do not grip the icy roads very well, and this will cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
Drivers may also want to keep in mind that icy conditions can cause other problems as well. Any water on a windshield can turn to ice and can impede visibility. If precipitation is mixed with icy temperatures, blowing snow and ice can hamper visibility even further. If you must drive, get windshield wiper fluid designed for cold temperatures. Before driving, make sure that you scrape off any ice or snow on your vehicle. Do not use regular windshield fluid, as it may freeze on your windshield, making visibility difficult. Make sure that your windshield wipers work well – these are a vital tool for keeping your visibility good in the cold.
Cold temperatures outside and a warm car interior often mean foggy windshields and windows as condensation accumulates on the inside of your car. If this happens to you, use your defrost to remove the fog that might be hampering your visibility. If you do not have this feature, use a chalkboard eraser to wipe down the inside windows – pull over to do this, however. Avoid using your sleeve or clothes to wipe away fog – this usually results in streaks and dirty glass that makes it hard to see.