6 Tips for Safe Winter Driving in Utah
When you really think about it, driving is a dangerous activity. You’re maneuvering a multi-ton box of metal filled with flammable liquids at speeds of 50, 60, 70 miles per hour, separated from other vehicles by nothing but your own skill and a thin line of paint on the road. There’s never a time where driving is 100% safe, but the hazards are especially great during winter, when environmental factors like ice, wind, and snow team up to make the roads more dangerous than ever. Fortunately, by following these six simple tips, you’ll be safer on the road and less likely to get into a Utah car accident.
6 Ways to Stay Safe While Driving in Utah This Winter
If you live in southern Utah close to the Arizona border, snow and ice are unlikely to cause problems for you. But if you live in the northern part of the state, like Salt Lake City, Ogden, or Logan, you know the winters can be brutal, full of heavy snow and plenty of ice to go with it.
Driving in these conditions can be intimidating, especially if you’re a recent transplant from a warmer part of the country. But while you can’t completely eliminate the risk of a car or truck accident, you can take some steps to increase your safety and lower your odds of getting seriously hurt in a crash.
- Be prepared. Before you get behind the wheel, assemble a winter survival kit in case you get stranded by the roadside. (If that sounds like a hassle, you can even order a premade kit from American Red Cross or buy one at your local Walmart.) It might sound a little silly or excessive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry – and if the worst does occur, you’ll be glad you were prepared. Items to keep in your kit include:
- Any medications you take
- A pocket knife
- A scarf, hat, and gloves
- A snow shovel
- A tow chain
- A whistle
- A windshield scraper
- Cell phone chargers
- Emergency flares
- First aid supplies
- Non-perishable, high-calorie food
- Salt, sand, or kitty litter
- Your cell phone
- Hang back. Increase the following distance you normally leave between your vehicle and the next car in front of you. On slick roads, you’ll need more time to stop if you or the driver ahead of you starts to lose control.
- Inspect your tires. Tires are made from rubber, so winter weather can make them crack and dry out. Make sure your tires are in good condition before you hit the road, especially if you’re going on a long-distance trip or plan on driving into a rural area where help will be hard to come by. If you’re really concerned, you can even invest in a set of specially-made winter tires, which are available from just about every major tire brand.
- Slow down. Driving slower in severe weather will help reduce your risk of getting into a car accident, especially if visibility is poor. Keep in mind that in 2015, obscured vision from poor weather caused 1,070 injury crashes and 35 fatal crashes statewide.
- Stay by your vehicle. If you get into an accident or blow out a tire, do not abandon your vehicle. That will simply make you harder to find – and depending on how thick the snow is, you might lose sight of your own car after you set out on foot. Walking around in a snowstorm also increases your risk of developing frostbite.
- Watch the weather. Winter weather in Utah can be moody. What starts out as a light, refreshing powder can turn into a gusting, blustery storm in almost no time at all. Before you commit to a long drive, make sure you’re up to date on the weather forecast. If you can, postpone a trip if bad weather is projected. If you absolutely must travel in poor weather, make sure at least one person knows when you left, where you’re going, what route you’re taking, and when you’re expected to arrive.
Salt Lake City Car Accident Attorney Representing Crash Victims
Financial compensation may be available if you or a family member was injured in a car accident, including compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings, medical bills, and other expenses and losses. With decades of experience handling personal injury claims arising from auto accidents in Utah, Salt Lake City intersection accident attorney Darwin Overson is here to fight hard on your behalf in pursuit of the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Darwin Overson handles car accident claims throughout the state of Utah, including but not limited to Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan, South Jordan, Orem, Provo, Ogden, Lehi, Draper, Taylorsville, and Sandy. To discuss your claim in a free consultation, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143.