We have had light snow totals so far this Winter season in Wisconsin. Driving in the winter can be challenging, especially when icy road conditions are added to the mix.
Here is some useful information to help to be better preparred for driving this winter season.
Vehicle Traction Control
New safety technologies are being added to cars at a record rate. One such technology that’s particularly useful in winter is traction control. This function helps your vehicle gain traction on snowy, icy or wet surfaces, particularly when accelerating from a stopped or slowed position, or when trying to make it up a slippery hill. Traction control is now standard on most new vehicles.
Make sure to check the weather before you depart.
If the forecast looks questionable, wait out the storm if possible. But if you must travel a longer distance, make sure you share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave.
If you become stranded in an unfamiliar area, do not leave your car. Light flares or use LED safety lights in front and behind the car to make yourself as visible as possible. Also make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, mud or any object.
Preparing your Vehicle
It is a good idea to have your vehicle reviewed by a certified mechanic before the snow really starts to fly. Some items to have checked are: ignition, brakes, spark plugs, battery, tires and tire wear and antifreeze levels.
Make sure to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times.
Why Winter Driving Can Be Dangerous
The U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration reports that 22 percent (nearly 1.3 million) of all car accidents are weather-related. When you factor in snow, sleet, black ice, and frigid temperatures, it’s easy to understand why winter is considered the most dangerous season.
In many states, winter weather brings heavy snow, freezing rain, flooding, and bitterly cold temperatures that can all wreak havoc on road conditions.
The 2 main reasons: ice and black ice
Ice forms when the road is wet and its surface temperature drops below freezing. Because the ground warms more slowly than the air, ice may still be on the roads even if it’s not freezing cold outside.
This surface ice can stop your tires from getting a good grip, making steering and stopping difficult. And while icy roads are extremely dangerous, black ice is even more so. Black ice is a thin layer of ice that forms on the roadway, but instead of looking icy, the road appears
wet. It usually has a matte appearance rather than the glossy one typical of icy roads. Black ice tends to form at night or in the wee hours of the morning, and drivers tend not to notice it until they’ve lost control.
Overall Stopping Distance multiplies by TEN during Winter Driving
Overall Stopping Distance is the total of Thinking Distance plus Braking Distance.
Thinking Distance is the time it takes for you to activate your brakes, and the distance you have travelled before they start to affect the speed of the car. Example: 30mph = 30ft think distance.
Here are a few calculations for overall stopping distance:
– Driving at 20mph – thinking distance is 20 feet plus 20 feet braking for a total of 40 feet.
– Driving at 40mph – thinking distance is 40 feet plus 80 feet braking for a total of 120 feet.
– Driving at 70mph – thinking distance is 70 feet plus 245 feet braking for a total of 315 feet.
The Overall Stopping Distances are DOUBLED (x 2) for wet roads and multiplied by TEN (x 10) for snow and icy conditions.
If you are dealing with a winter car accident, let us help! Call Jacobson, Schrinsky & Houck in Milwaukee today at (414) 223-4444 to have one of our caring lawyers come out to meet you. Get car accident help today!
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