Pennsylvania drivers are all familiar with how dangerous the roads can get in the winter. Between snow, ice, sleet, and freezing rain, the road conditions all increase the chances of an accident happening. According to a recent news article, Pennsylvania was ranked as the second most dangerous state for winter driving, falling right behind Michigan. While other states that were in the top 10 included New York and Colorado, you may be wondering how Pennsylvania made second.
The three year average for deaths from winter driving in Pennsylvania is 30. Michigan was ahead at 49, and New York followed Pennsylvania with 29. While winter weather is tricky to drive in, the best way you can reduce your chances of getting into a dangerous winter car accident is to prepare. Let’s take a look at how you can prepare your car and yourself for winter driving.
Preparing Your Car for Winter
Being prepared is your best defense to winter driving. When you know you’ve taken safety precautions and your vehicle is ready for the winter conditions, you’ll have more peace of mind and confidence while driving. PennDOT suggests the following for making your car road ready for the winter season:
- Your tires need to be inflated and have the proper amount of tread depth. If your tires are deflated, you could risk getting a flat while driving, which could lead to losing control of your vehicle. Even if you’re able to safely pull over to the side of the road, changing a flat in cold weather isn’t always pleasant. Inadequate tread depth on your tires could reduce your vehicle’s grip on the road. This could be deadly in slippery conditions
- Check your lights. Winter isn’t known for just snow—it also gets darker much more quickly. You’re going to need dependable headlights and taillights when you’re navigating dark roads.
- Your car level fluids should be full. Make sure you’re up to date with oil changes and have sufficient windshield wiper fluid.
- Check your heater and defroster so you can ensure you’ll be warm and will be able to see through your windshield.
If anything is not working properly, see a mechanic. They’ll be able to give your car a tune-up and answer any additional questions you have about having a safe vehicle this winter.
Additional Winter Driving Tips
In addition to preparing your car, there are actions you can take to increase your road safety this winter season. Check out the following tips.
- Clear ice and snow off your car so you can see through your windows and so there isn’t snow piled on the roof of your car. This can fall off when you’re on the road and hit drivers behind you.
- Go a safe speed for the road conditions you have. If you need to slow down, it’s okay to go a few miles below the speed limit. It’s also a good idea to increase the distance between yourself and other vehicles.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full. Running out of gas in winter can leave you stranded, which can be deadly.
- To prepare for stranding conditions, keep a backpack in your car with extra warm clothing, food, water, and a charged portable phone charger so you can contact someone for help.
- Be cautious when you travel on bridges and ramps as ice can form on these before the roads.
- Don’t pass plow trucks. They’re heavy and difficult to maneuver. When you pass them, your vehicle could get hit with snow or you could skid and run into the plow. They will likely not have the reaction time to get out of your vehicle’s way.
- Always adhere to weather and travel advisories. This can help you determine which routes to take when you’re on the road and before you head out. If you’re planning on driving on a day with blizzard-like conditions, consider changing your plans and staying inside.
Now that you have all these helpful tips under you belt, you can increase your safety this winter season.
Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco Can Help
Winter driving in Pennsylvania isn’t easy. We understand that you can take winter driving precautions, but sometimes others do not and can cause devastating accidents. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Get in touch with our car accident lawyers in Philadelphia today. We can help you get justice and move confidently into the future.