While winter driving in South Carolina may pale in comparison to the more northern states, the colder months can still bring thunderstorms, fog, black ice, and other unsavory conditions to our roadways. If you are planning on traveling for the holidays and are headed north, you may also encounter snow.
Driving in the winter can be hazardous and scary, especially during a rainstorm, or when you're driving in an area with a lot of snow and ice. Since we can't always avoid travel during the winter season, being prepared and taking extra precautions can help keep you safe on winter roads and in cases of emergencies.
How You can Prepare Yourself
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the three P's of safe winter driving are: PREPARE for the trip, PROTECT yourself, and PREVENT crashes on the road.
- Properly Maintain Your Vehicle: Check the battery, windshield wipers, and tire tread. Be sure to keep your windows clear, check your antifreeze, and deposit no-freeze fluid inside of the washer reservoir.
- Keep These Items Handy: Be sure to keep a flashlight, jumper cables, an abrasive material such as kitty litter or sand (when you're driving in snow), a shovel, flares, and blankets.
- Take Your Time: When travelling in heavy rain or snow, allow plenty of time to get to your destination. Don't forget to check the weather before you leave, familiarize yourself with the directions, and let others know where you are going. Also remember that it takes longer to stop on wet, slick, or icy roads - so increase your following distance and give yourself plenty of time to slow down and stop before an intersection.
Protect Yourself & Your Passengers
Buckle up and use child safety seats properly. Children under the age of 12 are much safer if they sit in the backseat. Never place a rear-facing infant car set in the front with an airbag.
How to Prevent Crashes:
- Drink responsibly and plan for rides if you attend holiday parties.
- Be sure to maintain a safe following distance between cars.
- Be alert for pedestrians crossing the road.
- Do not drive if you're over-tired. Be sure to get plenty of rest before driving, and if you are on a long trip, stop at least every three hours.
- Get to Know Your Vehicle
Every vehicle handles poor weather conditions differently, and this is especially true if you are driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads. When the weather gets rough, we recommend taking your time (off the main road) to learn how to effectively handle your vehicle under wet, slippery, or icy weather conditions.
It is also important to learn what kinds of brakes you have and how to use them properly if your car begins to skid. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure. If you do not have antilock brakes, then pump the brakes gently. To learn more helpful tips, you can read the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's checklist for safe winter driving.
Bad things, unfortunately, do happen, so If you were injured in a car accident, we urge you to contact a South Carolina personal injury attorney from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers. As a no recovery, no fee law firm*, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting us!