Winter offers some of the worst weather of the year and it can make driving difficult and dangerous. Accidents are more common on icy roads and when visibility is reduced by blowing snow. It is important to stay safe on the roads this winter and know what to do if you are in a car accident.
Winter Driving Tips
Cold weather is hard on your vehicle and on the roads. It is important to be prepared so that you can ensure a safe trip.
- Have your car battery and alternator checked to ensure that they are working properly. If your battery is getting older, it can fail more quickly in extreme temperatures.
- Replace your old battery at any sign of a problem.
- Replace windshield wipers and fill up your windshield wiper fluid with winter weather wiper fluid that will not freeze.
- Keep a can of spray windshield defroster in your car to help remove ice.
- Completely remove snow and ice from all of the windows and lights on your vehicle before you drive. If you drive with snow on your vehicle, you cannot see well and others will have a harder time seeing your vehicle.
- Allow your car to warm up for a few minutes before you drive. You want to make sure that your car will not stall while on the road or in traffic. Do not drive if your car will not remain running.
- Drive slowly on snowy and icy roads. Drifting snow can cause whiteout conditions even if it is not currently snowing outside. Drifting snow can cover lanes and will greatly reduce visibility.
- Watch out for black ice. When temperatures get low, the thin layer of ice on many road surfaces freezes and is unaffected by the use of salt. A patch of black ice can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and send you spinning into a ditch or into another vehicle.
- If your vehicle becomes stuck or inoperable it is best to stay with your vehicle and wait for help. Do not attempt to walk to get assistance as this can be a deadly mistake during cold and snowy weather.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car in case you get stuck. Include warm clothing, a blanket, flashlight, flares, water, granola bars, and jumper cables. Run the car intermittently to provide heat while you conserve fuel.
- Let others know where you are going, especially if you are traveling far away. Provide your route and estimated times of departure and arrival so others will be aware if you are late.
- Keep your phone charged up and carry a portable cell phone charger so you can charge your phone even if the car’s battery is dead.
What to do After an Accident
Fender benders are quite common in the winter due to slippery roadways. Wisconsin state law states that when you are involved in an accident in which there are injuries or property damage above $1,000, you are required to complete a police report. Contact the police from the scene of the accident. Sometimes the police are unable to come to every accident, especially during inclement weather. Make sure that you exchange information with the other driver and fill out a police report as soon as possible.
Get medical care for your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Contact an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your options. You may be owed compensation for your injuries including money for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd to discuss the details of your accident.