According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, almost a quarter of weather-related vehicle crashes happen on “snowy, slushy, or icy pavement.” Accidents in snowfall or sleet kill nearly 1,000 people each year. Winter weather can make driving dangerous, as the statistics demonstrate. So, what can drivers do to avoid Utah auto accidents in winter? Read on to learn some vital tips for safe winter driving.
Preventing Utah Auto Accidents – Winter Driving Tips
1. Stay home in bad weather.
Staying home might not seem like a great “driving tip”, but it is an important one. The most careful drivers and the best-equipped cars and trucks are still at risk when the roads are covered in snow and/or ice. The safest course of action in hazardous weather is to stay off of the roads.
2. Drive slowly.
It may seem obvious to drive slowly when the roads are snowy or icy. However, once you get out on the road you may run into other drivers who do not feel the need to go slower. They may tailgate you to pressure you to drive faster. Or, they may all pass you and leave you feeling like you should go faster. Avoid giving into peer pressure and only drive as fast as you are comfortable.
3. Test the road conditions as soon as you get on the pavement.
As you are leaving your driveway and getting on the road, hit the brakes and see how they respond. You can tell a lot just with a quick brake check. If stopping is no problem, you can go a little faster. If you slide immediately, drive slower to account for the lack of traction.
4. Don’t leave home without an emergency kit.
If you live in an area where snow is common, you know this tip already. Drivers get stranded in snowstorms all the time. Bring blankets, clean water, food, and other necessary supplies to keep you and your passengers warm and fed for at least 24 hours in case you get stuck and have to wait for help.
5. Always clear your headlights, taillights, and windows before driving.
When you are in a hurry, it can be tempting to start the car and deal with things as they come. But it’s much safer to prep your car before you leave – both for you and other drivers. Clearing your windows ensures you can see, which clearing your headlights and taillights ensures others can see you. Also, brush the snow off of your car because it can slide off and hit or blind other drivers.
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