This article was written on March 10, 2015, and updated on January 2, 2021. Though safety tips for driving on slippery roads have not changed, our vehicles have!
Cities across the country have seen strange weather patterns this winter, from the excessive snowfall in the Northeast to the freezing cold and rain in the South, and even our neighbors in the Western areas of the country, where it is usually little or no snowfall, have fallen victim to Mother Nature’s whims this season. And although this was true when we first wrote this article in 2015, nothing has changed.
We have seen some of the coldest temperatures in South Florida and snow in stranger parts of the world. In fact, temperatures in Miami are colder than they have ever been in the past decade.
This makes it especially more important for everyone to take care and be cautious on the roadways. Here we will share several tips to assist you and your loved ones in remaining safe while traveling on wet or slippery roads.
1: Regularly check your windshield wipers, headlights, taillights, and signals to ensure proper operation
It’s often so easy to forget to do simple car checks and maintenance before driving. Technology has made driving on slippery roads much safer in a number of ways. Not only are cars equipped with more safety features including side view sensors, traction control, and airbags, but cars themselves are also better at telling you when there’s a problem. So be sure to keep your car maintained, and check your car before taking to the road.
2: Regularly check tire pressure and tread to ensure maximum traction and functionality
As mentioned above, check your car and check it twice! We’re sure even Santa has to check the sleigh a few times before taking the red beast to deliver presents. When it comes to driving on slippery roads, tire pressure is so important. Follow the guidelines on your tire to make sure that the pressure in your tire is exactly where it is meant to be which will ensure you are safe on the road. Learn more about where to find your ideal tire pressure on your car.
3: Avoid using cruise control when driving in wet or slippery conditions.
Cruise control is a great way to get from point A to point B with minimal effort. Unfortunately, when driving on slippery roads, you have to put in the effort, which means taking care to pay as much attention as you can to the roads. You should have full control of the vehicle at all times when driving on slippery roads and the cruise control has been known to cause vehicles to lose control and even hydroplane.
4: Avoid speeding
Even at just 35mph, tires can lose traction when driving conditions are less than ideal. Slow and steady wins the race… and get’s there safely. What’s worse is that younger drivers are more likely to get into car accidents while driving on slippery roads . Speeding is one of the most easily avoidable actions, something you can do that is not only a safer way to drive on slippery roads but a safer way to drive in general.
5: Keep Your Distance
Leave several car lengths between your vehicle and the one in front of you in the event the other driver stops suddenly or loses control. Remember there are lots of other cars with faulty tires, or with drivers who have not checked their cars or maintained their cars over long periods. So keep a distance between your car and the car in front of you. This includes not speeding and not tailgating. Let’s all get there safely!
6: Skidding Maneuvers
If you feel your vehicle going into a skid, try not to panic (though that can be easier said than done). There are a few ways to get out of a skid or hydroplane. Keep these 5 steps in mind if you can so next time you feel like you are losing control of the car, you will be in a better position to recover safely:
- Take your foot off of the accelerator
- DO NOT engage the brakes; they are useless because the vehicle has no traction during a skid
- Steer the vehicle gently in the direction in which you want it to go; do not turn the wheel aggressively as you will likely completely lose control of the vehicle
- Allow the front wheels to regain their grip
- Continue to steer gently in the appropriate direction
No matter what, take time to collect yourself after a skid.
7: Buckle Up No Matter What
Always wear your safety belt and ensure your passengers are secured as well. Thank the heavens that newer cars beep until you fasten your seatbelt. Although that does tend to annoy drivers, those warning systems have saved many lives and continue to do so. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans on expanding the warning system to include warnings for back seat passengers. Though that legislation is still a few years away from realization .
In cases where visibility is diminished, drive with your headlights on. That is the law in all 50 states though some states may differ on what is considered diminished visibility. Most Americas are taught to turn on their car lights when it begins to rain, snow, or when the road is covered in fog. If you are driving on slippery roads, the conditions are already slightly dangerous and it is or was likely snowing or raining, so turn your lights on. Additionally, avoid using your flashers unless your vehicle is disabled.
9: Just for Emergencies
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle to include the following items:
- Paper towels
- Booster cables
- Flares or triangles
Though these items will not help you avoid accidents while driving on slippery roads, these items will come in handy if you find that you are involved in a car accident.
10: Call For Help
Have the number to a roadside service handy – either in your glove box or saved in your cellular telephone
At Steinger, Greene, & Feiner, it is always our hope that you arrive safely to your destination. We hope that you will read and share these safety tips with friends and loved ones alike to help those in your circle remain safe in less than ideal weather conditions. Even when employing precautions, accidents can happen. If you or someone you know is hurt in an accident, know that the caring advocates is just a call or a click away. Call our car accident lawyers in Orlando today.