Growing from a child to a young adult with a license means having to look at snow in a whole new light. Louisville drivers are no strangers to snowy conditions in the winter, and this coming season looks to be more of the same. Inexperienced drivers, however, could be seeing their first snow of the year from the perspective of being on the road.
New forecasts for the next few months predict snowfall in Louisville. The averages for December and January are in line with the amount of snow the city receives per year in those months, while February offers potential for even more snow.
Snowfall requires more preparation, caution, and attention than most other driving conditions. Understanding the details of driving in snow is crucial, especially if something happens on the slippery road.
Here are five very avoidable errors that are made far too often on snowy roads, how they can cause an accident or leave you stranded, and how to avoid them.
Having Poor Brakes
What condition are your brakes in as winter approaches? Even brakes in good condition can be unpredictable on an icy road.
Braking in snow should be gentle, provided you don’t have an antilock brake system (ABS) in your car. If you do have ABS, the key is to be firm and not let off. For either of these to keep you safe in the snow, your brakes should be in a top tier state.
Have you been meaning to refill your brake fluid? Have they been making a noise you’ve been meaning to get checked out? Take your car to a mechanic and make sure you have brakes that can handle the roads before next snowfall.
Not Taking Care of Your Tires
Not all tires are created equal. Snow tires are built with a tread design specifically made to get better traction on the snow-covered ground. They’re highly recommended for this time of year — especially if you live in an area that isn’t snow plowed regularly. .
Snow tires, though better for the conditions, are far from perfect and need maintenance like tires for any other season. Consistently check the air pressure to make sure all four are properly inflated, and make sure the tread on them isn’t too worn, especially in older snow tires.
It’s the precaution you’ve probably been told more than any other when it comes to snow, but it bears repeating: do not drive too fast. It’s been said often, and it has been ignored often.
According to a report by Kentucky State Police, nearly 5,000 Kentucky accidents occurred on snowy roads in 2015. Four percent of all accidents were determined to have been caused by someone driving too fast for the conditions. It’s very easy to start driving at the speed you’d drive normally, but evidence shows that it causes crashes on icy and snowy roads.
Depending on how severe the snow is, you’ll want to bring a lot with you on your drive. One particularly common example of a lack of preparation here is to not have enough gas in the tank. Always try and make sure you have a full tank in advance. It also helps to keep an additional half a tank or more in your vehicle just in case.
Spare tires are a must in the trunk. You should have a cell phone charger for the vehicle as well. At least one snow brush and shovel in the car is important. There are a lot of things to keep track of, but these emergency items and more come in handy in times of need.
Not Knowing All Your Options in Case of Emergency
Let’s say your unpreparedness leaves you stranded on the side of the road, or in an accident. It can feel overwhelming. Try to keep in mind, however, the services available to you as a Louisville resident. Knowing the number for your nearest AAA provider can be a blessing.
Those who are having troubles on major highways should also know that the Kentucky government provides a service called Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies (SAFE) Patrol, which is generally free, barring the need for a tow truck. SAFE Patrol offers auto assistance to those in need on many interstates and parkways statewide from from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
SAFE Patrol is particularly helpful if unpreparedness has hurt you. But avoiding those pitfalls can make your snowy drive more manageable and less dangerous.
If someone’s negligence on a snowy road caused your injury, you could be eligible for compensation. Learn more about Morgan & Morgan’s Louisville attorneys and their experience with car accident cases, or contact us for a no-fee, no-obligation review of your case.