Anytime the outdoor elements begin to change for the worse, you may hear the sound of ambulances and fire trucks soon afterwards. One of the most common mistakes drivers make in bad weather conditions is failing to slow down and adjust to the poor driving conditions. This single act alone, reducing speed, can make a huge difference to your safety and others.
Since the cold weather is still upon us, you might find yourself having to battle slippery and treacherous conditions. It is important to approach the road with as much knowledge on how to prevent an accident as possible due to the increase of ice on the roads and sleet/freezing rain in the air.
Here is a breakdown of maneuvering through sleet, ice and freezing rain:
- Sleet-- Sleet is when small ice pellets fall down, they are smaller than hail but can damage visibility the same. Sleet often bounces when it hits the ground or the hood of your car, complicating your ability to see clearly. Slow your speed and try to remain in well-lit areas if possible. You may try waiting out the sleet parked on the side of the road or before you head out.
- Ice-- Ice forms on bridges faster than roads from the greater exposure to the drop in temperatures. Take special precaution driving over a bridge. Utilize your hazard lights if necessary. If you hit "black ice", avoid the response to hit your brakes, this could spin you out and cause an accident. Instead, lift off the gas pedal and allow your vehicle to naturally slow down as you steer straight ahead.
- Freezing rain-This type of rain falls and then freezes on contact after hitting the surface of the ground. Take caution for both the rain that is falling and the icy roadways it is causing. Try to remain in your right lane. This can reduce your need for changing lanes.
What to do when accidents happen
In the event you find yourself in an accident, contact 911 for medical assistance right away. Once police and paramedics have helped, document your accident and swap insurance information with the other driver. Should you find the police report and/or the insurance adjustor making false claims and denying a fair settlement amount, consider gaining legal support and representation.
Accidents often damage our vehicles as well as our physical bodies afterwards. Taking precaution and knowing what to do should it happen is the best any driver can do, icy weather and all.