3 Safety Reminders for Winter Driving Conditions

December 20th, 2018 | by RON BELL

3 Safety Reminders for Winter Driving Conditions

Each year in the U.S., nearly 900 people die and 76,000 people are injured in motor vehicle crashes that can be attributed to dangerous winter weather conditions such as snowfall or sleet.

These grim statistics, compiled by the Road Weather Management Program – a weather information system operated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), are a sobering reminder that winter is the most dangerous season for drivers. New Mexico, with an average of 10 to 19 deadly collisions every winter, is by no means an exception to the rule.

Although Albuquerque doesn’t regularly experience extreme weather conditions in wintertime, when the temperature does drop unexpectedly and snow or ice starts to cover the road, the risk of deadly collisions grows exponentially. For example, a record-breaking snowfall practically crippled the city in early 2015 and since then, it seems that the weather has become even more unpredictable. It is likely that New Mexico as a whole will see some unanticipated weather phenomena this coming winter as well.

Being adequately prepared for difficult driving conditions is the key to staying safe on winter roads. In this article, we will review some practical safety reminders that will help you brave any unexpected winter weather emergencies.

Don’t Neglect Proper Vehicle Maintainance

Adverse weather conditions can be a true test for your car so when winter conditions strike unexpectedly, you must be sure that your vehicle is in optimal condition. While you should never neglect routine maintenance – such as checking tire pressure, oil, and fluid levels – it is also recommended that you visit your mechanic at the beginning of the winter season. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises getting your car checked for “for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements”.

Adjust to the Conditions

According to expert reports, many winter-time accidents are avoided despite adverse conditions when drivers properly adjust their driving – especially speed – during such weather. The way to avoid dangerous situations on wet, icy or snowy roads is to practice defensive driving. The term describes driving techniques that actively lower the risk of an accident. For example, DMV.org mentions the following practices that defensive driving includes:

  • Looking ahead and expecting the unexpected.
  • Controlling your speed.
  • Maintaining a safe following distance.
  • Preparedness for the reactions of other drivers.
  • Driving safely for weather and/or road conditions.
  • Being alert and distraction free.
  • Watching and respecting other drivers.

Stay Alert

Distracted driving in New Mexico is one of the most common causes of accidents on the road – both in winter and all year round. The importance of staying alert while driving cannot be overstated. Avoid using your phone, tablet, or other electronic device while driving. Refrain from checking your email or replying to a text message even when stopped at a traffic light. As mentioned in one of our previous articles, texting or typing on a mobile device while driving is strictly illegal in the state of New Mexico while novice drivers are completely prohibited from using mobile phones while driving – both hand-held and hands-free. It is also important to remember to avoid other, less obvious distractions such as eating or adjusting your radio.

Ron Bell Personal Injury Attorneys wish all of our readers safe travels this winter season. Below, you will find some of our past articles that highlight the need for taking precautions while driving in the fall and winter. We are confident that you will find this advice helpful and practical:

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