Winter driving can be anxiety-inducing for many. Roads are often extremely icy, visibility can be poor (especially if it’s snowing, dark and windy), and even if you are careful, other drivers often do not slow down or drive appropriately to the conditions.
Most car accidents in the year tend to happen in the winter. In 2017, for example, one-third of all car accidents happened between November and February. Most collision-related insurance claims in Canada are made in the months of December and January. It’s just not a fun time of year to be on the road.
Since not driving during the winter is not an option for most of us, here are some ways to avoid common wintertime collisions.
Check Your Car & Tires
Make sure that your car is up to date on regular maintenance. If your car needs repairs that aren’t being addressed, you are asking for trouble on slick roads.
It’s also important that you not only have the appropriate tires for the road conditions but that these tires are properly inflated. Over or underinflated tires can quickly become a problem.
Keep Your Distance
One of the most common reasons for collisions in the winter is that drivers continue to underestimate the braking distance they will need. With slick roads, that braking distance should be significantly bigger.
If you are following the car ahead of you too closely and the driver has to brake suddenly, you will not have the space needed to come to a stop in time.
Another issue is sliding through intersections or stop lights because you didn’t give yourself enough time to brake. This results in hitting or being hit by other cars. Make sure that you begin braking much earlier when driving on icy roads.
Do Not Use Cruise Control
If you’re using cruise control in icy conditions, hit a patch of ice, and begin to skid, cruise control will continue to accelerate your car forward. This is a quick way to lose control of your vehicle and put yourself and those around you in danger.
Don’t Drive if You Don’t Have to
This one may seem painfully obvious, yet we are stubborn creatures of habit. If it is dark outside and you know the weather and road conditions are not ideal, don’t drive unless you have to. So many collisions can be avoided if we postpone our plans when possible and wait for safer driving conditions.
If you do have to drive, slow down and try to be calm (which we realize is easier said than done). You are more likely to overcorrect when you are tense and stressed. Also, get in the habit of having gear in the car with you, just in case. Some good staples are warm layers, a phone charger, a windshield scraper, a small shovel, and a rope or chain.
In the Event of an Accident
If you are in a car accident in Alberta, it is best to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. They can provide you with helpful next steps and inform you about the details of your coverage.
Next, we recommend that you get in touch with a personal injury lawyer in Alberta that provides a free consultation. We at McGuiness Law do just that! We ensure that you are being compensated fairly by the insurance company, as their goal is generally not to compensate you for every possible injury and expense.
Our team is highly experienced in motor vehicle collisions, and we can advise if the offer from the insurance company is fair or if working with a lawyer to maximize your compensation is a good idea.
Contact our team today by calling 780-900-7941, or connecting with us via our website contact form.