What can you do to prepare your vehicle for winter driving conditions? How important is winter driving safety in Kansas? With snowflakes starting to fall across the plains, now is the time to ask these questions and take the steps to winterize your vehicle and prepare it for the ice, snow, slush, and sleet that are almost certainly going to fall.
Winter driving safety starts with a set of properly inflated snow tires. The tread on the tires helps maintain friction with the road surface and traction when driving over snow/slush. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that on average, loss of traction on snow causes 210,341 crashes each year. These result in 55,942 injuries and 739 fatalities. Icy pavement is responsible for causing 151,944 accidents that result in 38,770 injuries and 559 fatalities. FHWA data also shows that snow covered/slushy pavement causes 174,446 accidents that result in 41,597 injuries and 538 fatalities.
Motorists should also check their headlights and brake lights. Each year, loss of visibility in foggy conditions causes 28,533 accidents that result in 10,448 injuries and 495 fatalities. Drivers can also be cited if their lights are "out" and the citation is often more expensive than simply changing the light.
Check your windshield for cracks and the wiper blades for signs of wear and damage. The wipers should be able to clear the windshield without leaving streaks or missed spots on the glass. Any cracks or chips that are discovered in the glass should be treated and repaired so they don't "spiderweb" and impede your field of vision while driving.
You will also want to check and clean battery connections and the battery's charge along with levels of wiper fluid, transmission fluid, and top off the radiator with antifreeze to prevent it from freezing up. After you have topped the reservoirs off, allow it to sit overnight and check it again. This will let you know if any of the reservoirs are leaking and need to be repaired.
Finally, you should install a safety kit in their vehicle. At a minimum, the kit should include road flares, matches/lighter, shovel, snow chains, jumper cables, First Aid kit, blanket, extra clothing, gloves, snacks and some water. This helps protect you from exposure injuries should you become stranded on I-70, US 50, I-35, etc. Many motorists also include a tow rope, winter boots, and thermal underwear in their winter emergency kit.
In addition to preparing the vehicle for winter driving safety, it is also important to prepare yourself. Allow for extra time in your travel schedule on days when the forecast calls for snow, ice, etc. By taking it slow, you will get where you want to go. In light snow, travel speed decreases by as much as 13%. Travel speed can drop as much as 40% in heavy snow. Building time into your schedule will allow you to drive for conditions which is important because you could be liable for causing an accident due to excessive speed for conditions.
Brad Pistotnik Law helps on tractor-trailer accidents, car accidents, car wrecks,motorcycle accidents, farm accidents, construction site accidents and all vehicular accidents. We want you to have a safe and accident-free winter driving season. We will be happy to give you more winter driving tips and we are ready to represent your accident claim for those times when your trip doesn't go as planned in Wichita, Garden City, Liberal, Kearney, Tulsa, Guymon, Enid, Kansas City, Topeka, Dodge City, Hays, or elsewhere in Kansas, Nebraska, or Illinois.
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