The recent wintry weather in Middle Georgia has been causing havoc. According to CNN, numerous accidents have been reported – just about everywhere. Although news reports have focused on the Atlanta icy road debacle where hundreds, if not thousands, of drivers reported being stuck on highways overnight, Middle Georgia residents faced similar dilemmas. Unfortunately, many southern drivers lack experience when it comes to driving in wintry conditions, and for good reason – they generally don’t need to.
Five Tips to Prevent Car Accidents This Winter
Even when driving in icy and snowy conditions aren’t an everyday occurrence, it helps to know the basics. Although temperatures are back to normal levels, winter is not over. Here are some defensive driving tips to keep you safe if wintry weather comes for another visit:
- Increase your distance / Decrease your speed. Increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you from two car lengths to three. Decrease your overall speed to allow you to react to weather conditions and other vehicles.
- Brake gently. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), apply steady pressure. You will feel the brakes pulse; this is normal.
- Slow down on bridges, overpasses and less traveled roads. Bridges and overpasses really do freeze before roads, as the signs warn. Less traveled roads are more likely to be frozen – especially if they are in shady areas.
- Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Many four-wheel and front-wheel-drive vehicles cannot handle winter conditions, and having “all-weather” radial tires generally doesn’t help.
- React properly to skidding. Reacting properly to skidding is likely one of the more difficult things to learn about winter driving. Here’s what to do when your front or rear wheels skid:
- Front wheels. Take your foot off the gas and then shift into neutral. However, don’t try to steer immediately. As your wheels skid sideways, they will slow down the vehicle and traction should return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go, put the transmission in “drive” (release the clutch) and gently accelerate.
- Rear wheels. Take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding right – steer right. If your rear wheels are sliding left – steer left. Do this until you can control your car.
If you do get into an accident, find out what to do after a car accident by discussing your situation with an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer who not only understands the law, but also how insurance companies operate. Rest assured that your insurer will have a team of its own attorneys to represent its best interests. Make sure you’ve got someone to represent yours.