Road Safety Tips for Maine Drivers: Preventing Accidents and Protecting Your Rights

At Hardy Wolf and Downing, we encourage all drivers to follow general road safety tips like observing the posted speed limits, whether in town or on the highways, avoiding distracted driving and driving under the influence, and being sure all passengers wear their seat belts. However, beyond such practical road safety tips for driving in Maine, there are a number of unexpected situations Maine drivers should be aware of to prevent accidents and protect their rights should an accident occur. From the time of year to the roads less traveled, here are a few tips to consider when driving in Maine. 

Seasonal Driving Tips

Winter Driving

Be prepared at all times when driving in Maine, but especially be prepared during the winter months. In winter, every driver must be aware of the road conditions, wherever they’re at and wherever they’re going. Maine is notorious for its rapidly changing weather, largely due to its climate divisions. Maine has three of them—Coastal, Southern Interior, and Northern Interior. Winters in central and northern Maine are much colder than the coast. Yet, though there is more precipitation along the coast, snowfall is considerably lower there compared to the north due to the tempered ocean climate. All this means that you can drive from Portland to Bangor on any given winter day, and it can go from blue sky to blowing snow in no time. 

When winter comes, prepare your vehicle and have the right emergency gear and equipment in the car. More importantly, know how your vehicle can perform in ice and snow and use proper driving techniques for the conditions you encounter on the road. Reduce your speed on snowy or icy roads to maintain control and prevent skidding. Finally, always allow more space between you and the vehicle ahead to account for longer stopping distances.

Summer Driving

Driving in Maine during the summer requires special attention. For starters, Maine is a summer destination for many tourists but also home to many seasonal residents. The influx of people means heavier and congested traffic conditions in cities and towns throughout the state, along with increased traffic in coastal areas, along scenic routes, in lake communities, or near popular attractions like Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park. 

Summer is construction season in Maine, too. Motorists should slow down and follow all signs and directions in construction zones to ensure the safety of workers and other drivers. Watch for motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians, too. Warm weather brings more bikers and cyclists on the road and more people walking along roads or crossing them. 

Maine’s weather can change just as rapidly in summer as in winter. Be prepared for sudden rain, fog, and even snow. It’s not uncommon for areas of interior Maine to experience snow in June! Summer thunderstorms can occur suddenly and produce torrential downpours. If you encounter heavy rain, reduce your speed, turn on your headlights, and use wipers. If visibility is too low, safely pull over until the storm passes.

Wildlife Encounters on Roads

Watch for wildlife when out on Maine roads and highways. Animals are more active in the warmer summer months. Deer and moose are common sights along roadways, especially during dusk and dawn. Collisions with deer and moose, along with black bears and, believe it or not, wild turkeys, can total your car and lead to serious injuries. To avoid collisions, watch for animal warning road signs, drive cautiously, and be prepared for unexpected stops in areas known for wildlife crossings. At night, use your high beams to better spot animals along the sides of the road. 

Road Conditions

Many roads throughout the state, whether coastal or interior, are winding and narrow and lack shoulders to pull over in an emergency. Many roads and streets have frost heaves and potholes that can damage your car or lead to accidents if traveling too fast. It’s also not too uncommon to encounter gravel roads in rural areas. If so, to prevent an accident, it’s best to reduce speed and watch for dust clouds that can reduce visibility. In town or out in the country, be aware of the road conditions, be prepared for sudden stops, drive carefully, and exercise caution if you have to pull over.

What to Do If You’re in an Accident

Whether you hit a patch of ice or a moose, in the unfortunate event that you are injured in a car accident in Maine, one that was no fault of your own, you have every legal right to receive the compensation you deserve. You pay car insurance to cover your finances should an accident occur. Don’t let the insurance company blame you, and don’t settle for less.  Contact Hardy Wolf and Downing for legal assistance. We will work for you and ensure you receive what you rightfully deserve. Call today for a free consultation

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