The winter season undermines all that we find safe and predictable about driving. Our cars can be damaged by the cold and cease to function properly. Roads can be covered in ice or slush causing slick, dangerous driving conditions. Our vision impaired by heavy rain or snow, creating more opportunities to hit vehicles and pedestrians.
In order to get through these winter months without mishap, it’s important that Washington drivers know how to be responsible in these conditions.
Before Hitting the Road
Before setting off, Washington drivers should take the following precautionary steps to ensure that they and their vehicles are prepared to face winter weather conditions.
- Service Your Car
It is important to service your car to prepare for winter. Whether this means spending an afternoon detailing your car yourself, or taking your vehicle to a technician, here are the things that will need some attention:
- Brakes: Be sure your brake pads aren’t too old or too thin. Braking in snow or water takes more time than braking on dry ground due to limited traction, so be sure your tires are prepared.
- Battery: Check your vehicle’s battery for sufficient voltage. Be sure that the charging system is fully functional to ensure your battery is never a concern. It takes more power to start a car engine in cold weather than in warm, so if your battery needs repairs or a replacement, now is the time to do it.
- Tires: If you have snow tires, have them installed immediately. Check the age of both your regular and snow sets to be sure they are still safe. Rubber starts to degrade after a few years, so be sure your tires are in an overall good condition. They should be fully and properly inflated, and the tread should be good with no uneven wear.
- Wipers / Windshield: Your windshield and windows should be clear of cracks and easy to see through. Windshield wiper blades can be replaced for more heavy-duty wipers if you are located nearer to the mountains, as these Seattle areas experience the most heavy snow. In any case, be sure your wiper blades are functional and that your window defrosters are working.
- Misc: If you’re going on long road trips during the winter, it’s recommended that you always keep your gas tank at least half full. Also check your vehicle’s coolant levels and be sure that there is enough antifreeze to ensure that your vehicle can withstand freezing temperatures. And don’t forget, if you’re driving in snow or heading over the mountain passes, you will need chains!
There are plenty of local mechanics in Everett that would be happy to help you prepare your vehicle for winter. Without this attention, you could easily become involved in a serious car accident.
- Plan Your Route
If there is heavy rain, snow, or the temperature is hovering right around freezing, take some time to research your driving routes before heading out. It’s always possible that there could be heavy snowdrifts, black ice, or flooding along your anticipated route. Check the weather report before leaving to ensure that you don’t run into trouble.
- Practice Cold Weather Driving
Driving in winter weather is much different from driving in warm, dry conditions. The best way to be prepared to face the dangerous roads is to practice beforehand, especially for young drivers. After heavy rain or snow, practice your responses to poor road conditions in an empty parking lot in full daylight. This will help you remember how to properly navigate the roads in poor conditions without endangering anyone. When it comes to braking, it is important to know the capabilities of your vehicle. If you have antilock brakes, apply steady firm pressure while braking. If you don’t have antilock brakes, remember to pump the brakes gently. If you get into a skid, let yourself relax. Stay calm and ease your foot off the gas pedal. Use only the steering wheel to point the front of the car in the direction you want to go. Stay off of the pedals until you can regain control of the vehicle.
Washington Car Accidents
Because of the unusual, unpredictable, and uncontrollable environment, many Washington drivers put themselves in dangerous driving situations and sometimes end up in serious car accidents as a result. If you have been injured in a car accident that you were not responsible for, you can get compensation for your injuries and property damage.
At Russell & Hill, our experienced Washington car accident attorneys help those injured in auto accidents and pedestrian accidents obtain monetary compensation for their losses, pain, and rehabilitation. The time and effort required to construct a strong personal injury claim demand education and familiarity with the field. Our attorneys can help.