Here in Minnesota, we're used to dealing with winter weather and hazardous roadways. But, if you're a new resident, or don't hit the roads often, your winter driving skills might need work. Snow, ice, and other weather can easily make for hazardous roadways.
The risks for accidents or breakdowns skyrocket during winter storms. Should you be involved in an accident, insurance will often cover at least some costs related to damages or injuries. Still, no driver wants to have to deal with the effects of a vehicle accident, particularly during snowy, icy or frigid weather. So, how can you avoid sustaining one?
The best thing you can do is to stay off the roads during severe winter conditions. However, there are times when driving in winter weather is unavoidable. So, if you must drive on winter roads, be sure to do so with caution.
Safety Tips for Winter Driving
Drivers should do everything they can to remain safe on wintry roads.
- Keep an eye on the forecast. If you're out and about when wintry weather looms, you should leave for home before the storm hits. Traffic will likely increase as people try to get home. This may raise the risk of congestion-related accidents. Use extreme caution.
- Only use open, structurally-safe roadways treated with anti-freeze solutions. Try to avoid curved roadways, or roads with lots of hills, elevation, or foliage overhangs. These roads tend to become hazardous long before major thoroughfares do. Use caution when crossing bridges, as they tend to freeze early in storms. Check with the local highway department to see if road closures are already in effect.
- Do not speed or tailgate other vehicles. Frozen moisture on the pavement can reduce traction. This makes control difficult and often diminishes braking power. You will need extra room to stop your vehicle. Often, it is best to drive under the speed limit during heavy precipitation.
- Use your headlights. Many states require drivers to turn on the lights when driving in any precipitation – including freezing rain, sleet and snow.
- Before driving, check the integrity of your tires. Poorly-inflated tires, or those with worn treads, often cannot grip the road well. They will pose much higher driving risks in bad weather. You should have the tires inspected during good weather, well before winter weather threatens.
- Be ready to abandon your vehicle. In some severe cases, you might need to leave your vehicle behind – particularly if you find yourself stranded somewhere in Minnesota’s notoriously frigid winter temperatures. If you must do so, follow rules of the road for abandoning vehicles. Try to reclaim your car as soon as possible.
- Once you get to a safe place, do not leave until the roads are safely passable. This will reduce the changes of further issues.
If you have an accident on wintry roads, contact your insurance agent immediately. They can help you begin the process of filing a claim. Your insurance coverage can be quite valuable in these instances. So, make sure you have the correct coverage before winter weather looms. Also make sure your insurance information is in your vehicle.
Have questions about insurance during winter weather? Contact Lancette Agency, LLC today for more information.