Posted: January 20, 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reports that there are almost 900 fatalities and nearly 76,000 people injured in car accidents during sleet and snow storms each year. 

While none of us can control the weather, there are things drivers can do reduct the risk of accidents while driving during the winter months: 

Make sure your car is prepared. Make sure you have winter tires and that they are inflated to the proper PSI level. Always keep an emergency kit in the car, including engine oil, washer fluid, wiper blades, a windshield scraper, a tire pump and a blanket or warm clothes.

Stay current on weather reports. If winter weather or adverse driving conditions are imminent, take a few minutes to check your local weather station for an updated forecast. Just because it is safe to drive to your destination does not mean it will be safe to drive home later.

Plan your route before going out. If you do need to venture out on slick roads, do your best to avoid hills or uneven terrain. Make sure your car is equipped to handle the road ahead, and definitely consider alternate routes.

If your car starts sliding, pump (don't slam) the brakes. Anti-lock brake systems do not work well in slick conditions, so do your best to resist the urge to slam on the brakes. Instead, try pumping the brakes repeatedly. This will prevent the wheels from locking up and give you better control over your vehicle when trying to turn the wheel to correct the slide.

Resist overturning the wheel. Usually if your car begins to slide, it is because you are going too fast. If this happens, your natural reaction may be to cut the wheel sharply to compensate. However, this could lead to you overcorrecting for the slide and cause the car to slide in the opposite direction. The best approach to correct a slide is to calmly turn the wheel in the direction you want to go without rotating the wheel more than a half-turn.

Increase the distance between you and the car in front of you. In dry conditions the rule of thumb is to keep 10 feet between you and the car in front for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling. In slick conditions it is best to double that distance, and always remain aware the car you are following may not be driving as safely as you.

All your efforts taking precautions and driving defensively won't matter much if another car slams into you. If that happens, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you secure the compensation you need to recover.

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