For a time, it felt like the cold weather might never arrive. But as November comes to a close, temperatures are dropping precipitously, which means it’s only a matter of time before snowfall and icy conditions make driving a veritable nightmare for New York City residents.
Driving Safely in the Snow
Adult drivers may have a hard time remembering the lessons taught by the Driver’s Education teachers from their teenaged years. Snow and ice can cause you to lose control of your vehicle- sometimes unpredictably. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we know how terrifying it can be, attempting to react properly in emergency situations like these. Hopefully, by studying the following tips, some of these safety practices will become second nature for our readers.
- It may seem self-explanatory, but the most crucial piece of advice we can give to motorists is to drive slower in the snow. A heavy majority of all accidents, snow-related or otherwise, are caused by reckless driving and imprudent speeding.
- Because snow and ice can dangerously increase the amount of time it takes for vehicles to come to full stops, it’s of paramount importance that you leave an exaggerated amount of space between your car and the car ahead of you. Every year, thousands of avoidable fender-benders occur because of the widespread human proclivity to “follow too closely.” The amount of time you save, per trip, by fighting that war of inches is nowhere near the amount of time you’ll lose if you wreck another vehicle’s bumper. Police involvement, insurance policy procedures, and the potential for injury makes this practice eminently not worth it.
- If your car does go “into a skid,” meaning the tires have lost their traction with the road, it is generally accepted to follow the wisdom of the old adage: “steer into the skid.” However, it’s important to avoid compensating too dramatically. “Oversteering” can prolong the fishtailing.
- What’s most important is keeping calm, keeping your hands on the wheel, and focusing your vision on clear parts of the road. Too often drivers fixate on the obstacle which they’re trying desperately to avoid, which may cause an unwanted, subconscious side-effect: drivers focusing too strongly on the lone tree in an empty field often end up hitting it. What’s best is keeping your sights set on safe, open areas.
- There’s another safety maxim, relating to Anti-Lock Brake systems, or ABS. “Stomp, Stay and Steer” tells drivers to stomp their foot on the brakes and stay there, pressing resolutely down on the brake pedal. With foot firm-on-brake, drivers should then attempt to steer towards safety.
New York Legalizes Studded Snow Tires
Even the most seasoned driver can be tricked by black ice and the slick nature of snowy roads. Luckily, help is on the way: in the form of newly legalized studded snow tires. This October, New York State will officially permit its residents to install studded tires on their vehicles, which help increase traction and, by extension, decrease the frequency of slips and slides.
Studded tires have small, ultra-hard bits of metal embedded directly into the rubber, which entrench themselves into snow, and even ice, allowing vehicles to tightly grasp the road. You may sometimes see government vehicles, such as garbage and mail trucks, employ a similar technique, wrapping their tires in nets of metal chain. However, metal studs can damage asphalt that isn’t covered in snow, which is why their use was formerly unlawful and now regulated; these tires may be used only between October 16th and April 30th.
There are other items you should keep on hand throughout the colder months. Small snow shovels, hand brooms, and ice scrapers can be used to etch your vehicle out of snowed-in situations, and come in great handy all winter. For those willing to do more a bit more preparation, small emergency kits can be assembled and kept in the trunk. Kits should include items like:
- Jumper cables, for emergency jumpstarts.
- Flashlights, in case your car breaks down at night.
- Cat litter (or similarly coarse substances), which can be scattered under-tire for impromptu traction.
- Water bottles, and non-perishable food, in case you’re snowed so heavily into your car that you are forced to spend long periods of time inside, awaiting help.
Kaplan Lawyers PC
Just because snow falls doesn’t mean that life stops. Most of us are still required to attend work and attend to our daily obligations, even when the roads become treacherously icy. In the upcoming months, we at Kaplan Lawyers PC stress the importance of driving carefully. In the event that tragedy strikes, however, we urge you to seek the counsel of a law firm that specializes in driving accidents. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of driving law. We have a long and proven track record of winning our clients maximum compensation. Which means that if you’ve been hurt, you owe it yourself to retain the services of New York City’s premier vehicular accident law firm. Our consultations are easy and always free, so contact us today.