Safety tips for winter driving

Winters can be brutal here in Wisconsin. In January of 2019, dangerously cold arctic air spread across the Mississippi, bringing record freezing temperatures lower than -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unfortunately, severe winter weather can be dangerous for many travelers. When temperatures are below freezing or when there’s sleet on the road, it can increase a driver’s risk of getting in a collision. According to AAA, half a million drivers across the country get in crashes due to severe winter weather every year.

Luckily, there are ways Wisconsinites and other commuters around the Midwest can protect themselves and others on the road this upcoming winter.

Staying safe on the road

Here are some things motorists may want to consider:

  • Reduce speed: Depending on road conditions, drivers may want to reduce their speed limit to account for decreased traction when driving on sleek snow or ice.
  • Know when to brake: Whether their vehicle has anti-lock brakes or not, drivers should keep their heel on the foot of their vehicle’s floor. Doing so can help motorists apply firm pressure to the brakes when needed. This can be important when driving near the woods, where wildlife may frequently cross the freeway.
  • Give other vehicles extra room in front and back: When it’s sleek out, a vehicle’s reaction to sudden events may get delayed, as some may skid across the road when pressing on their brakes. Due to these circumstances, motorists may want to increase their following distance from five seconds to six seconds to allow extra room for error.
  • Don’t stop when going up a hill: Many Wisconsinites know what it’s like to drive uphill on an icy road. If motorists approach a hill during their commute, they may want to consider gaining some inertia before making their way up.
  • Stay home if possible: While not always realistic, the best way people can protect themselves from the dangers of winter traveling is staying out of the driver’s seat. Even if one can drive well in inclement weather, avoiding unnecessary risks sometimes is the best option.

Preparation can reduce risk of harm

By knowing how to protect one’s self while winter driving, they can reduce their risk of harming themselves or others. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t get hurt due to the negligence of other motorists. If that’s the case, they may want to seek legal assistance to obtain compensation for their injuries.