Driving in Minnesota during the winter means dealing with potentially dangerous weather conditions, including snowstorms, white outs, black ice, sleet, ice, and so on. While driving in these conditions should be avoided altogether if possible, that just isn’t the case for some people. This is why drivers need to take extra care and caution when behind the wheel in order to keep themselves and others safe. Because this is such an important topic and can save the lives of many individuals, we will be going over some ways to help you avoid the potential for a collision.
Have you been involved in an auto accident and looking for a reputable personal injury lawyer in the Minneapolis area? Get in touch with Woods & Thompson, P.A. today for a free consultation to see how we can help you.
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Car Windows are Completely Cleared Off
If you must drive in bad weather conditions, be sure to thoroughly brush all the snow and scrape any ice from the windows. “Peephole driving” through small, cleared spots of your windshield greatly reduces your visibility and can lead to accidents. In fact, it is even illegal in Minnesota and several other states to drive with frosted or steamy windows. Minnesota Stature 169.71 subdivision 3 states, “No person shall drive any motor vehicle with the windshield or front side windows covered with steam or frost to such an extent as to prevent proper vision.”
Tip #2: Slow Down
While this one may seem like a given, it is actually quite common for this to get overlooked. Tires lose their grip more easily in slippery conditions and it affects all aspects of your driving. This includes accelerating, braking, and turning. Driving at a slower speed than normal will give you more time to react to sudden ice or snow, and potentially a collision. Even if a collision does occur, a slower speed will also lessen the damage and could potentially save the lives of those involved. If you do feel yourself starting to skid, don’t hit the brakes — just let off the gas, keep your steering wheel straight (or a gentle turn in the same direction if you feel your car sliding a certain way), and allow your car to pass over the ice as slowly and as in control as possible.
If you drive a car or truck that has tires with good traction, it is still important to be cautious of the ice and be patient for those who are driving slower. If you are someone who doesn’t have the best traction on your tires, you may want to avoid driving in icy, snowy conditions, but if you must, just make sure to be careful and slow down. Even if you are late to wherever you end up going, your life — and potentially someone else’s life — is much more important than being on time.
Tip #3: Ensure You are Alert and Ready to Handle the Roads
Even if you are being safe on the roads, it doesn’t mean that everyone else will be. Be sure when traveling in snowy conditions that you are not fatigued in any way so that you are able to handle situations as they arise without delay. Whether you have to make a cup (or two) of coffee, turn down the heat, or listen to a thought-provoking podcast — being alert is crucial for driving in these not-so-predictable situations. If you are involved in a winter collision due to someone else’s driving, be sure to contact our personal injury lawyers at Woods & Thompson, P.A. in Minneapolis as soon as possible.
- Always make sure your tires are properly inflated.
- Make sure to always keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your car.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on snow, ice, and wet surfaces.
- Always make sure that you and everyone else in your vehicle is wearing their seat belt
- Ensure your windshield wipers are in good condition.
- Pack warm clothing, such as a coat, hats, gloves, and a blanket) and an emergency kit that includes food, water, a first aid kit.
- Average at least eight to 10 seconds of follow time to account for the increased margin of difficulty in driving.
- If you experience a collision, contact the personal injury lawyers at Woods & Thompson, P.A. in Minneapolis for a free consultation to see if we could be a good fit for your case and assist you with getting the compensation you deserve.