Jones & Swanson

Preventing a Winter Pile Up

As fall comes to a close and the weather gets colder, driving conditions in and around Marietta may become more precarious. Each year, countless Georgia drivers wreck their vehicles when rain, sleet, snow, and ice are present on roadways. In the past, we have provided a winter driving safety tips, but wanted to reiterate those again as metro-Atlanta weather gets colder this week.

One of the simplest and most effective winter driving tip is to look in the direction that you want to steer your vehicle at all times. In the event of an accident ahead of you, try to avoid watching it and instead concentrate on a safe place for your vehicle to be. Typically, a vehicle’s steering wheel follows the driver’s eyes because that is what our reflexes want to do.

Unfortunately, black ice and slick roadways cannot be overcome simply by looking in a specific direction. The largest issue with black ice is that it is nearly impossible for drivers to see, which often times causes overreaction. When a vehicle hits black ice, steering control becomes minimal. Instead of attempting to turn your steering wheel to regain control, it is better to continue driving straight and let up on the acceleration. This allows the vehicle’s tires to be pointing straight once the automobile is off the ice, instead of to the side.

Another winter driving obstacle is that of wet or icy hills and inclines in roadways. If your vehicle is not equipped with four-wheel drive or some other sort of assistance system, it is best to wait at the bottom of the incline or hill until it has been cleared. If there is simply no way around a hill, it may be possible to use momentum to climb it, but this can lead to loss of vehicle control.

Perhaps the most difficult lesson to learn is how to appropriately handle a vehicle once it is already spinning. The proper method of handling spins may seem counterintuitive, but it is the only way to do so. When a vehicle’s rear begins sliding, the driver should steer into the turn until they have regained control of the automobile. Once control is recovered, the driver can continue on whatever path they were previously attempting. This means if you are trying to make a right turn, but your vehicle begins spinning to the left, you should steer to the left so that the vehicle is straightened out and traction is regained.

Fortunately, vehicles continue to be improved with technologies that make winter driving easier and safer. Many automobiles now have features that warn drivers when they are hydroplaning or sliding, as well as automatically respond for the driver. While these technologies may not always be relied upon, it is helpful to have them nonetheless.

Drivers that cause automobile accidents, even when winter weather conditions are involved, can be held liable for injuries to other vehicle passengers and drivers. For this reason, it is important to travel at appropriate speeds and leave plenty of space between your vehicle and others on Georgia roadways. For more information or a free consultation following a Georgia auto accident, contact our office today at (770) 427-5498.

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