Tips for Driving Safely This Winter

Winter is almost here. Driving in bad weather can be a challenge, and before you know it, the roads will be covered with ice and snow.  Even here in Virginia, snow and ice can become a problem, especially when drivers are not prepared for or accustomed to these road conditions.  Weather related crashes can be particularly stressful around holiday seasons; in 2012, they accounted for 4 percent of traffic fatalities around Thanksgiving.[1]  On average, 58,000 people are injured every year in traffic accidents as a result of snow or sleet.[2]

Practice these good winter weather-driving habits to keep you and your family safe:

  • Slow down, regardless of your vehicle type
  • Leave plenty of room between you and the cars around you
  • Do not using cruise control
  • If you start to skid, turn your wheel in the direction you want to go and ease your foot off the gas.
  • Avoid abrupt acceleration or braking
  • Take extra care when traveling on bridges and overpasses, as they commonly are the first areas to freeze
  • Avoid passing snow plows

To ensure you are ready for the cold months ahead, here is how you should prep your car for the winter:

  • Check your car’s fluids and top off your antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
  • Properly inflate your tires
  • Keep your gas tank full so you don’t run out of gas if you happen to get stuck
  • Test your battery
  • Check your windshield wipers, replace if necessary
  • Keep a snow brush, first aid kit, blankets along with some food and water in your vehicle
  • Make sure your cellphone or smartphone is with you and charged

Winter weather can produce treacherous driving conditions. If you do not feel comfortable driving in the snow or ice, stay home. If you do have to brave the roads, allow yourself plenty of extra travel time, drive slowly, and be patient with other drivers.  Keep an eye on weather reports because conditions can change rapidly. Winter can be dangerous, but with a little preparation, you can keep yourself and others safe this season.

About The Author: Amy Whitelaw is a personal injury attorney in the Richmond, Virginia office of Allen & Allen. Amy prides herself in providing the best client service and communication, able to explain options and legal concepts so that her clients always remain informed. She focuses her practice exclusively on personal injury cases including motorcycle accidents, car accidents, truck accidents and wrongful death.


[1] https://www.cars.com/articles/2013/12/nhtsa-bids-you-safe-travels-with-winter-driving-tips/

[2] https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact.htm