Winter weather driving safety for New Yorkers

Are you ready for the winter driving season?

Whether we like it or not, winter is almost upon us. New York winters can be brutal, with feet of snow and shockingly cold temperatures on many days. All that snow and days on end with temperatures below freezing can lead to messy road conditions and auto accidents. Understanding how to drive will help keep you safe both in the City and outside its limits.

Proper vehicle maintenance is key

Have your tires been checked recently? Do you know what the proper tire inflation rate is for your car or truck? Are your brakes functioning properly? Are your heater and defroster working as intended? If the answer to any of these questions is "no," you should take your vehicle in for maintenance before the winter weather sets in. Having a properly serviced car will help keep you - and other drivers - safe.

After all, if your tires don't have proper tread or aren't correctly inflated, they won't have good traction. If your brakes don't work, you won't be able to stop in snowy or icy conditions. Should your heater or defroster fail, your windows will fog up, obscuring your visibility.

Once you're on the road

Snow and ice are the two biggest issues when it comes to winter weather driving. Snow, particularly blowing snow, dramatically lessens visibility both in the daylight hours and at night. It also reflects your own headlights back at you, making it more difficult to see vehicles ahead of you and those coming from the opposite direction.

Snow can also pile and compact on road surfaces, obscuring lane markers and intersections. Being in the middle of the road instead of your lane could easily result in a head-on collision.

Ice is another dangerous roadway hazard in the winter months. Ice, in particular black ice, is almost impossible to see on the road surface. Should you hit a patch of ice, your vehicle could skid out of control, sliding into another vehicle or into a stationary object (a tree, a bridge abutment, a guardrail, a utility pole, etc.). If you hit ice, remember to look and steer in the direction you want to go. This may help you drive out of a skid and recover.

Remember, too, to slow down and drive according to the weather conditions. This will likely mean that you are going lower than the posted speed. That's okay. The most important thing is that you arrive at your destination safely. As a corollary to that, be sure to increase your following distance and your stopping distance. It takes much longer to stop on a snow-covered or icy surface.

It should go without saying that distracted driving is a big "no-no" any time of the year, but it's especially true in the winter. In the time it takes to look down and read a text, for example, you could hit a patch of ice or slam into the back of a stalled vehicle that is stuck in the snow.

Following these winter driving tips can help ensure that you stay safe on the road. Of course, you cannot control the driving of the people around you on the road, and it's possible that an inattentive or reckless driver causes a crash in which you are hurt. If that's the case, you have legal rights. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Subin Associates, LLP. Call them today at 877-265-4065 or 646-666-3030, or contact the firm online.