As Colorado residents, most of us are used to extreme winter driving conditions, ice, snow, hail, we’ve seen it all.
After serving Colorado Springs for many years as an auto accident attorney, however, I think we all could use a refresher course in basic winter driving safety techniques and tips in order to prevent a winter crash.
Here are some safe driving tips which are sure to help you when Colorado roads are slick with ice or snow:
- Begin your trip by starting out slowly and testing your steering control and braking ability in areas where no other drivers are located. Try gently pressing your gas pedal until the car begins to roll. Start slowing down at least three times sooner than you would normally.
- Equip your vehicle with chains, studded snow tire, or regular snow tires. (Chains and studded snow tires are much more effective than regular snow tires, as snow tires can still slide on ice or packed snow.)
- When stopping, avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel, and pump the brake gently. If your brakes lock on glazed ice, it will cause a loss of steering and control. Luckily, most vehicles these days are equipped with anti-lock brakes or ABS systems. However, many do not realize that extreme cold can affect these systems and negatively affect system performance. If you see a flashing or illuminated ABS logo on your dash, this may be the computer alerting you to a malfunction in your ABS system.
- Always maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Many rear-end crashes are preventable and occur on icy streets simply because drivers forget to leave extra space for stopping.
- Always keep your windows completely ice and snow free. Don’t leave your driveway until the windows are defrosted and clean. I know scraping ice off in the cold can be a pain, but it will be worth it if it gives you the visibility you need to be safe. An icy windshield can be exceptionally dangerous with our sunny snow days. As the bright morning suns pours in through the snow and ice, visibility becomes almost entirely obstructed.
Always drive with purpose in inclement weather and pay close attention to distance, speed and visibility. From all of us at our Colorado Springs office, we hope you take the time to prepare your car for winter roads before leaving the driveway or parking lot. The hassle now could prevent an auto accident in the future.