Maine winters are known the world over for their breathtaking beauty. They bring to mind images of pristine winter woods, sparkling snow and cozy nights snuggled by the fire.
But as the weather gets colder and the nights longer, Maine residents must also remember the treacherous side of Old Man Winter, and prepare themselves for winter driving on Maine’s ice and snow covered roads and highways.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys know that winter driving in Maine can be extremely risky. We want our residents to stay safe and avoid car accidents, so we’ve prepared some information and tips to help you stay safe this winter.
The U.S. Department of Commerce statistics show that nearly seventy percent of automobile accidents resulting in death are ice-or-snow related. Maine drivers are spending more time on the road because of increased commuting times, and communities are changing the ways they determine snow plowing routes in an effort to cut costs. A high proportion of inexperienced teenaged drivers adds to an already dangerous winter driving equation. making Maine winter roads an even greater hazard when winter storms hit.
Some of these tragic winter related automobile accidents may be avoided with careful planning and an eye towards driver safety. So, our experienced Maine car accident attorneys have compiled the following winter driving tips in an effort to keep our fellow drivers safer.
- Maine storms can strike with little or no warning. Keep your vehicle winterized at all times so that you are always prepared. Keep your gas tank filled, check your tires, fluids, wiper blades, antifreeze, and battery often.
- If you don’t have to leave the house, stay home! Staying off the roads is your best bet for avoiding a car accident when the roads are nasty.
- Stock your care with extra winter supplies (warm clothing, shovel, sand, food, charged cell phone, blanket, etc.)
- Tips for Winterizing Your Car – Weather Channel
- Slow Down! Leave plenty of extra room between cars (at least three times more space than you would in normal driving conditions.)
- If you have a four wheel drive or all wheel drive vehicle, don’t assume you are invincible or that your vehicle can handle all conditions. Drive slowly and carefully!
- Turn your lights on to increase your visibility.
- Keep your lights and windshield wipers clean, and make sure your blades are in good condition. Keep de-icer in your car, and always have an extra windshield scraper.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If you have an anti-lock brake system, press the pedal down firmly and hold it. If you don’t have an anti-lock brake system, pump the pedal gently as you brake.
- Don’t pass snow plows or sanding trucks. They have limited visibility, and road conditions are worse in front of them.
- Don’t stop going up a hill. Get gentle, controlled inertia on a flat surface before you take on the hill so that you can try to make it to the top by rolling.
- Don’t try to power up hills, as this will cause your wheels to spin. Try to use inertia gained on a flat surface to get you to the top of the hill.
- Stay alert, don’t use cruise control, and DON’T TALK OR TEXT ON YOUR CELL PHONE while driving on winter roads!
- Don’t pull out suddenly in front of another vehicle. When in doubt, wait and take it slow.
- Keep your gas tank full and use the bathroom before you leave for your destination.
- If you do find yourself in a skid, steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. As you recover, your wheels may start sliding the other way. If this happens, ease the steering wheel toward that side of the vehicle/skid. You may have to steer left and right repeatedly (gently!) several times to get your vehicle completely under control. If your vehicle starts to skid sideways, shift into neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately. Avoid sudden, jerky movements. As your vehicle slows, you will regain control. Then steer in the direction you want to go, put the transmission in “drive” and accelerate gently.
Our Maine personal injury attorneys hope you will follow these driving safety tips and have a healthy, safe Maine winter driving season. We live in a beautiful state, and with a little careful planning, you’ll be here to enjoy it, accident-free!