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Winter Driving Safety Tips

When it comes to weather, every Coloradan knows that it can be perfectly sunny at 10:00 AM, and a complete blizzard by 4:00 PM.

Mother Nature has a fantastic sense of humor. If you’ve lived in Colorado long enough, you could be considered an expert on winterizing your vehicle. You know to have your tires checked and rotated to ensure proper tread and pressure for these snowy winter months. You’ve probably already topped off the coolant and wiper fluid, and permanently have an ice scraper in your trunk.

Every winter we see cars on the side of the road with their emergency flashers on; we see pedestrians trudging back to their vehicles with red gasoline tanks. Even worse, we hear stories on the news of drivers becoming trapped by snowstorms. As any Colorado driver knows, the best way to avoid a winter storm accident is to prepare – to prepare your vehicle, and to prepare as a driver.

To prepare your vehicle for winter driving, here are a few simple tips to ensure your safety.

  1. Change your wiper fluid to a “de-icing” wiper fluid. This type of wiper fluid will still be able to spray in freezing temperatures.
  2. Visually inspect the vehicle’s front and rear lights for proper operation. Be sure to also check the turn signal and emergency flasher lights.
  3. An ice scraper is a fairly basic winter essential, but it’s also a good idea to keep a small shovel in your vehicle in case of heavy snowfall.
  4. A winter emergency kit is a necessity, especially when driving through the Colorado Mountains during the winter months. Things to add to a large plastic tub for your emergency kit include:
    1.  Jumper cables
    2. Warm blankets or sleeping bags
    3. Extended burning candles, lighters, and matches
    4. Warm clothes – gloves, hats, thick socks
    5. Cat litter or sand (this helps to gain tire traction!)
    6. Extra water and non-perishable food items – protein bars, dried fruit, nuts
    7. Flashlights and extra batteries
    8. Portable phone charger
    9. Battery-powered radio
    10. Bright colored flags or fabric that can be used as “help” signs 

Winterize your driving skills by remaining alert and aware of your surroundings. At MasterDrive, students and experienced drivers can take a 3-hour experiential learning course, giving drivers hands-on training on how to react to icy roads, hydroplaning, along with a variety of other road conditions. Some other tips to keep in mind when driving this winter include:

  1. Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  2. To gain traction when skidding, steer in the direction your car’s rear end is traveling.
  3. Shift into a lower gear when ascending or descending steep roads, especially when driving in the mountains.
  4. Drive defensively – never assume that other drivers are paying attention and driving safely.  Give other drivers plenty of room to merge and make mistakes. It’s better to be extra cautious than to end up in an accident.

If your or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced Denver personal injury attorneys at the Bendinelli Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation today. We’ll help you get the help you need.