‘Tis the season to get stuck in the snow. Winter has come to Indiana in all its unpredictable fury, and it seems like every time you go out on the highway, there’s a car pulled off on the shoulder with its hazard lights blinking.
Snow and ice make every road in Evansville a hazard this time of year. The potential for getting in a car accident is everywhere, whether sliding into a telephone pole or causing a multiple-car pileup. With a little preventive care and careful driving habits, you can lower your chances of being involved in an Evansville car wreck this winter.
Though it’s already the heart of the season, take your car to the mechanic before it gets too cold to check your car’s brakes, battery, and hoses. In extreme conditions, gas lines and other hoses can freeze, causing serious problems for your vehicle. Check or replace your wiper blades and top off windshield wiper fluid, too. Consider buying a below-0º solution to help thaw ice that accumulates on your front and rear windshield.
If you don’t already have good snow tires, consider buying a set or getting chains for the most severe weather. According to the Indiana State Police, chains provide the best traction in inclement weather, followed by studded tires (only legal during the winter months), and snow tires.
You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: ice and snow, take it slow. Check the weather conditions before you go out, whether you’re running errands or driving to grandma’s house for the holidays. Plan your trip and route away from severe weather, and budget extra time so you don’t feel tempted to speed.
You have more to worry about than just speeding around sharp turns when there’s ice underfoot. Unpredictable weather patterns and uneven melting make roads in Indiana even more treacherous than normal. Keep these tips in mind as you watch the road:
- Ice on the road is twice as slippery at 32º than at 0º
- Areas like overpasses, bridges, and intersections may have more ice than other parts of the road
- Pay careful attention to other vehicles on the road; their behavior may help you anticipate hazards and avoid them
- Sudden movements, whether steering, stopping, or accelerating, can cause your car to slide
Winter Driving Tips
The Indiana Department of Transportation and State Police have several recommendations for staying safe in cold weather conditions. In addition to the following tips, always wear your seatbelt to protect you and your passengers in the event of a crash.
- Maintain two car lengths between you and the car in front of you for every 10 miles per hour
- When driving on ice and snow, do not use cruise control
- Apply brakes firmly but gradually
- Start slowly from a stop, especially in icy intersections
- Watch out for pedestrians and snow plows
- Use low-beam headlights if equipped
If you find yourself skidding or sliding, release the brake and turn in the direction of the skid. Once you regain traction, move back into your lane or out of the way of traffic.
Even though no driver wants to imagine the worst-case scenario, it’s better to prepare for the worst than experience it with no plan in place.
Winter Survival Kit
Indiana State Police advise keeping a survival kit in your car at all times during the winter in case your car breaks down or you are otherwise stranded. Consider packing the following items in a safe, accessible place:
- Brightly colored cloth or flag
- Sand (or cat litter) to spread under your tires
- Non-perishable food like trail mix
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
Stranded on the Side of the Road
As long as you have at least a little gas in your car and a way to contact roadside assistance, being stranded in your car isn’t a hopeless situation.
While you wait for help to arrive, stay in the car and let the car idle if it will start. This way you can keep warm and stay sheltered from inclement weather. Tie the brightly colored cloth or flag in your emergency kit to your antenna or other point on your car to aid the person coming to get you.
In addition, leave the lights on in your car to increase your visibility to other travelers and the roadside assistance crew.
Help from an Evansville Car Accident Attorney
Even if you’re a safe, smart winter driver, accidents happen. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for more than just the damage to your vehicle. Contact the local Evansville car accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation of your case.