Navigating Winter Roads in New Jersey
Winter is one of the times when travel is most necessary, but it’s also when it is the most dangerous to do so. If you need to brave NJ’s icy roads this winter, make sure you stay safe with the following tips.
Stay Below the Speed Limit
Driving close to, or even over, the speed limit is normal, especially on NJ roads. Unfortunately, speeding is incredibly hazardous to drivers. More than 25% of fatal accidents involve a driver going over the speed limit. In the winter, poor visibility and icy roads make the risk of a serious accident even more prevalent. If you do get into an accident, you should contact a Morristown personal injury lawyer.
If you want to decrease your risk as a driver, try reducing your speed whenever the weather conditions get worse. A little more reaction time will help make sure that you make it safely through any rain, sleet or snow that the winter season throws your way.
Leave Plenty of Following Distance
Another way to make sure that you have the reaction time you need to avoid a winter driving accident is to leave extra following distance between you and the car in front of you. The normal recommendation is to leave one car length for every 10 miles an hour that you are driving. During the winter, you may want to add an extra one to three car lengths just in case the car in front of you brakes suddenly and ends up sliding on the ice.
If possible, you should also avoid heavy traffic during the winter season. This will reduce the chance of someone following too closely and being unable to stop if you find yourself braking too quickly. Back roads can be quieter, but they also might not be plowed correctly, so only take alternate routes at your own risk.
Watch for Patches of Ice
Patches of ice on the street are never quite as easy to identify as drivers would like. Some icy spots are covered in powdered snow while others are dark and melt into the black color of the asphalt. Reflection alone isn’t always enough as some patches of dark ice are indistinguishable from the area around them.
In general, part of driving on winter roads is assuming that any wet or snowy area could be covered in slippery ice. Pass carefully over these areas, remembering to slow down to create more traction. You may also want to rehash the best way to drive safely on ice before the season officially starts.
Avoid Minor Distractions
Any distraction is dangerous when you’re driving, and the winter months are full of distractions. As much as you’d love to sing holiday carols or answer a text message from your family member, the truth is that you need to keep your attention on the road until you have safely reached your destination.
To avoid mental temptations, turn your cellphone off or silence it before you get into the car. Avoid looking at your phone as long as the car is in motion. Depending on how comfortable you are, you should also consider turning off the radio, especially when the weather is bad.
Clear Snow Immediately
Allowing snow and frost to build up on your car is never a good idea. The weight of the frozen water is often too much for your vehicle and can lead to dents, windshield cracks and worse damage. On top of that, any snow left on the top of your car can fall while you’re in motion, obstructing your vision and causing a sudden accident.
The solution is to keep an ice scraper and snow brush in your car. Always brush the snow off your car before you start driving, and never leave a spot because you think you have enough visibility. Pay attention to the center of your car’s roof. The snow here is hard to reach, but it still needs to be removed.
We hope you have a safe and wonderful winter season with clear roads to every destination. If something does happen while you’re on the road, please contact our Morristown personal injury lawyer at (973) 898-0161.