Denver just had its first snowfall of the season, bringing back that familiar parade of motorists who seem to have forgotten how to drive since last winter.
Whether this is your first winter driving in Colorado or your 30th, it is worth taking the time to review some basic safety tips. Driving in cold and snowy weather can carry a heightened risk of being involved in a serious car accident. Before the weather gets too bad, take some time to refresh your memory so that you can help keep yourself and other safe.
Follow these tips to avoid winter dangers
Winter driving requires a different skill set than driving when it is warm and dry. As winter approaches, keep the following tips in mind:
- Slow down: Sometimes safe winter driving means driving below the posted speed limit. Maintaining a safe speed gives you more control of your vehicle and a better chance of reacting safely if you start to lose traction.
- Stay back: It takes significantly longer to stop on icy or snowy roads. Keep extra distance between your car and the vehicle ahead of you. Even if you're a great driver, you never know when you might need to stop suddenly to avoid someone else who has made a dangerous mistake.
- Avoid sudden movements: In the winter, everything needs to be done gradually. Sudden stops, turns or lane changes can cause you to lose control and crash. Start braking well before a stop sign or red light. If you're about to miss a turn or an exit, just wait for the next one instead of trying to make it at the last minute.
- Keep windows clear: Remove snow and ice from all your windows before heading out, and wait for your defroster to clear the fog from your windshield. It can be tempting to just clear a small area, especially when it's really cold out and the ice is thick, but you need to have full visibility at all times. In heavy snowfall, you may need to pull over periodically to clear your windows.
What to do if an accident happens
If you are involved in an accident, it is important to take immediate steps to protect your safety. If possible, move the vehicles to the side of the road and out of the flow of traffic. Unless there is a risk of fire, it is safest to stay inside your vehicle while you wait for help to arrive.
If you are hurt-even a little bit-seek medical attention right away. Car accident injuries often just get worse the longer they are left untreated. If you hit your head or have a headache that won't go away, go to the emergency room as this could be a sign of a serious traumatic brain injury.
If your injuries don't get better, or you end up missing a lot of work, give us a call. If the accident was caused by someone else's negligence, we may be able to help you recover compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We offer free initial consultations for crash victims in the Denver area and throughout the state of Colorado.