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Slides, Skids, and Brakes, Oh My!

Steve Wagner

It’s cold, and they say the snow and ice are heading our way. We all know this means additional dangers on the roadway. Whether you’re a seasoned Indiana driver or someone who may be driving in his or her first winter, reviewing tips for winter driving safety is never a bad idea.

Prepare for Dangers of Snow Before You Go

We’ll get to the driving-specific keys to staying safe on the roads in a minute, but first consider the critical steps you should take BEFORE you leave the house. Sometimes being well-prepared can mean the difference between life and death in the case of an accident in the cold.

Always Have An Emergency Kit In Your Vehicle

Make sure to prepare an emergency car kit and keep it in your vehicle. You should include things like road salt, kitty litter (for under tires when you are stuck), a shovel, flashlights, blankets, water, snacks, extra batteries, jumper cables, and anything you think you might need in the event of an accident or a breakdown in potentially bad weather). Winter driving safety requires you make sure your gas tank is at least half full.

Keep People Informed of Your Travel

Don’t ever travel without telling someone where you are going and what time you plan to arrive. Although most everyone travels with cell phones now, it’s still important to let loved ones know your location in case you are in an accident or lose cell service in a remote area or a storm.

Slow and Cautious Wins the Race

Practice habits of winter driving safety on ice and snow. It may be tempting to drive at normal speeds or to think you can handle whatever the weather throws at you, but remember that elements on the road can be completely unpredictable. It’s always safe to practice braking slowly, to keep your speeds lower than usual, and to stay far enough away from other cars that you don’t have to make last minute decisions to avoid a collision.

If you find your vehicle in a slide or skid, it may be necessary to steer around a collision instead of trying to stop. Steering is by far the preferred action if you’re traveling above 25 mph because it takes less distance to go around an object than it takes to stop your vehicle.

Skids happen when a driver brakes so hard that at least one wheel locks, when traveling to quickly on a slippery curve, or if a driver hits the accelerator and spins the wheels. Rear-wheel skids occur when the rear wheels lose traction. The key to ending this type of skid is to avoid slamming on the brakes and instead steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.

Front-wheel skids occur when your vehicle loses traction to the front wheels. Though this seems scarier and prevents you from steering the vehicle, front-wheel skids are actually easier to correct. Despite the loss of traction, continue to keep your eyes facing the direction you want to travel and steer gently in the direction you want the vehicle to go. Once the front wheels regain traction, you will be able to steer again.

Don’t Get Overconfident

Yes, we know you’ve driven in this weather for over 20 years, but we encourage you to stay vigilant and cautious this winter. Too many lives can be damaged by serious car accident injuries. If you find yourself the victim of an overconfident and careless winter driver, call the winter driving accident attorneys at Wagner Reese. We provide a completely free consultation and do not accept ANY fees at all unless your case is settled or won. Call us today to get started: (888) 204-8440.

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