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How to Avoid Winter Weather Accidents in Virginia and Washington DC

| Nov 19, 2013 | Traffic Accidents

In the Commonwealth of Virginia and DC, we get to experience a wonderful change in seasons.  We get to enjoy the cherry blossoms, the fall leaves, and the occasional winter snow.  Unfortunately that peaceful winter snow can be treacherous when you have to drive in it.  Accidents increase during winter weather events, so here are some helpful tips for staying safe when it’s snowing:

  • If you don’t have to drive anywhere, stay inside until road conditions are improved.
    • Let snowplows and sand trucks clear the roads before you venture out. 

If you must drive in snow or ice:

  • Drive slowly and leave plenty of room to stop. 
    • You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you. 
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding.
  • Make sure your lights are on and your windshield is clean.
  • Don’t use cruise control on slick roads. 
  • Never pass the snowplows or sanding trucks.  The road is always better behind them. 
  • If the snow begins to fall faster while you are driving and your visibility decreases substantially, find the nearest location to stop and park your vehicle safely. 

If your rear wheels begin to skid:

  • Take your foot off of the accelerator.
  • Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go.  If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left.  If they are sliding right, steer right. 
  • If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.  If you have anti-lock brakes, do not pump the brakes.  Apply steady pressure to the brakes. 

If your front wheels begin to skid:

  • Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but do not try to steer immediately. 
  • Let the wheels skid sideways as they will slow the vehicle and allow traction to return. 
  • As the vehicle regains traction, steer in the direction you wish to go and put the transmission in “drive” and accelerate gently.
  • It’s helpful to practice winter driving in an open, empty, snowy parking lot so you can get familiar with how your vehicle will handle.

Car accidents in Virginia and DC can happen at any time, but they increase during the snow and ice season.  Be mindful of other drivers and make sure to avoid unnecessary distractions while driving in wintry conditions.  Focus on the road in order to reach your destination safely.

Injured in a Winter Collision? Contact Shevlin Smith

The car and truck accident attorneys at Shevlin Smith want you to stay safe this winter.  If you find yourself involved in an accident, call us at 703-721-4233Let us help you navigate the recovery process.