Much of the work of preventing a wintertime car accident takes place before you hit the road. A properly maintained vehicle stands a better chance of avoiding skids and spinouts, and allows the driver to break in time to prevent a rear-end collision. As an example, your tires should have sufficient traction to grip on ice and snow. If you use snow tires, make sure all four tires are the same, instead of mixing sets.
Use all-wheel drive mode if your vehicle is so equipped. If you can’t afford an AWD vehicle, front-wheel drive is your next best option. Further, have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic to make sure it is in good working condition.
Once on the road, the primary safety rule is to slow down. Speeds that are safe in June are too fast when there is ice and snow on the ground. Also remember to increase your following distance, in case you have to brake suddenly.
Winter weather can create black ice, uneven roads due to the inability of plows to smooth roadway surfaces evenly and hidden traps on the street when pot holes create an accumulation of snow and ice that plows can’t get. Often, however, the hazards are fairly obvious. A driver who ignores signs that he or she needs to respect the weather can easily hurt others in an accident. Civil law recognizes this behavior as dangerous and negligent, and requires that the at-fault party compensate his or her victims.