Safe Driving Tips: Winter Weather

While Colorful Colorado may boast 300 days of sunshine every year, those who drive the streets of the Centennial state know that snow, sleet and rain still make their appearance from time to time.

Surprisingly, springtime in the Rockies is when we see the most snow. Across the nation, wet roads are the culprit for nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes every year.

So how do you navigate the normally clear roads when the upcoming winter weather strikes? Here are three nearly effortless ways to stay safe on uncertain roads:

Make sure your car can pass a safety inspection

Take your car to your trusted dealer or mechanic and have them do a safety check. Depending on how often you drive, tire treads typically wear down after three to four years. Even if you’re not a driving fiend, tires can age and become dangerous after five to six years.

And thinking you’re safe because of the “penny test”? Old tires that have been continuously exposed to warmer weather, under-inflated, or repaired for various reasons could still be dangerous, regardless of the depth of tread.

Additionally, examine your car’s brakes. Keep track of your mileage and the recommended longevity of your brake pads. Replacing them before you hear screeching is best.

To keep your vision unimpeded, change your windshield wipers every six months to a year, or when they start skipping, streaking, squeaking or splitting.

Avoid cruise control

In undesirable driving conditions, don’t leave decisions up to an automated system. According to Edmunds, “Wet weather may affect the systems’ sensors and reduce their reliability.”

And what happens to the car’s traction on cruise control versus off cruise control?

“When you take your foot off the gas to step on the brake, some of the car’s weight shifts to the front tires — providing a little more traction. With the cruise control on, you won’t have that shift and may not be able to gain traction as quickly as needed,” says Allstate.

Your natural reactions are immensely better than an automated system and work better in conjunction with how an automobile was designed.

Slow down and give space

While driving in the rain tends to be more dangerous than snow, wet roads in general can spell disaster quicker than the weather changes in Colorado.

Hydroplaning—when a vehicle rises up completely on a film of water and loses contact with the road—can occur at speeds as slow as 35 mph and in just 1/12 inch of water. “To reduce chances of hydroplaning, drivers should slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you,” says AAA Exchange.

In addition to hydroplaning, hitting the brakes in bleak conditions can also be dicey. It takes twice as long for the average vehicle to stop on wet roads than it does on dry roads and ten times longer in icy conditions.

The simplest way to keep you and your loved ones safe during inclement weather is to slow down to a comfortable speed and give the preceding car plenty of space. Plan ahead and maintain perspective when winter conditions are forecasted.

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Next time you hit the road in beautiful Denver, we hope nothing but pleasant conditions greet you but we know it won’t always be that way. Keep these simple yet crucial tips in mind to avoid auto accidents as best as possible.

Of course, if you ever do find yourself in an auto accident, DCC Law will be there to help you navigate insurance nuances and medical treatment, get you what you deserve, and bring you back to your feet. We know what it takes to take care of people so contact us today and get your life back on track.

February 15, 2019