Tips for Staying Safe During Cold Weather Conditions

For the past couple of years, Georgia residents have endured some unforgivingly cold winters. Last January, temperatures fell to freezing levels, causing schools and government offices to shut down due to dangerous road conditions caused by ice and snow. Learn how to stay safe this winter by reading the following tips to help you endure icy weather conditions.

Vehicle Safety Tips

When temperatures drop to freezing levels, driving becomes a drastically different task to tackle. In temperate conditions, driving a car is second-nature for most people. However, mentally breaking down the process of driving will help you stay mindful of your environment and avoid dangerous risks.

Pre-Driving Checklist. Safe driving protocols for icy and snowy conditions begin before you start the car. Although going through the following steps may seem unintuitive, taking the time to diligently inspect your vehicle could mean the difference between an uneventful drive and a dangerous traffic accident.

Before you drive, you should inspect your car according to this checklist:

  • Move your schedule at least 15-20 minutes earlier. When roads are slippery due to ice, the vehicle becomes less responsive to quick maneuvers. This effectively reduces response time to all road conditions. Abrupt movements can cause a car to lose control. Plan to leave early to avoid rushing.
  • Check your car fluids. Freezing temperatures can negatively impact engine oil and power steering fluid. Make sure your car’s fluid reservoirs aren’t frozen. Driving with frozen fluids can cause damage to your engine and steering systems.
  • Check your tires. Cold temperatures cause air pressure to drop. At near-freezing temperatures, tires can become underinflated by around 2 to 5 psi. Add air to your tires to make sure the pressure is at normal levels.
  • Check your windows. If your car was outside during a period of overnight snowfall, you might have to use a scraper to remove chunks of ice that have frozen to your windows, windshield, and wipers.
  • Starting your car. Start your car and let it run for a few minutes. This allows your engine oil and other fluids to thin out to allow normal engine operation. As your engine runs, your car's surfaces will start melting, make it easier to clear off remaining ice and snow from your headlights, hood, roof, and trunk.

Driving Tips. Now that you’ve finished inspecting your car and warming it up, you are ready to brave the roads. Ideally, salt trucks have treated most major roadways for optimal driving when necessary.

As you drive, consider the following tips:

  • Watch your speed. Speeds that are ordinarily safe in warmer and drier weather conditions are probably 10 mph faster than what is considered safe for icy conditions.
  • Look out for ice. As temperatures fluctuate throughout the day, surface ice melts and refreezes. As a result, sometimes icy patches appear as glassy black spots. If possible, avoid driving over icy patches as they may cause your car to slide out of control.
  • Stick to steady movements. Icy conditions reduce car response time by a significant factor. Accelerating, decelerating, turning, and braking all require more time to negotiate. Driving slowly minimizes the chance of having to react suddenly to unanticipated conditions. Breaking at least 100 feet earlier than you usually would in dry conditions helps to avoid traffic collisions.

Snow Safety Tips

Clearing snow. Snow isn’t necessarily common in the metro Cobb County area, but is exciting the times we do see it. While a snow-covered landscape is a breathtaking sight, an overlying blanket of snow on sidewalks and driveways can cause pedestrians to slip and fall. Homeowners and business owners will need to shovel snow clear from pedestrian paths. Make sure you use a shovel that is long enough to reach the ground without forcing you to hunch over. This will remove undue strain on your back, reducing the chance of injury.

Dress appropriately. Stay warm by dressing in appropriate winter attire. Dressing in layers will help ensure that your body maintains a healthy warm temperature. Furthermore, make sure you have accessories that are unique to winter climates. This includes ear muffs, scarfs, mittens, and warm headwear. Last but not least, make sure your footwear is suitable for walking through snow and across the ice. Boots with heavy tread will help you avoid slipping on ice while keeping your feet warm. Avoid wearing sandals, heels, or pumps when possible.

Avoid ice patches. Like driving across roads, pedestrians should keep an eye out for ice patches. Sometimes a thin powdery layer of snow can obscure ice patches. As a result, you should be mindful about crossing snow on an ordinarily flat, concrete sidewalk.

Contact an Experienced Marietta Personal Injury Attorney

If you are injured in a car accident or slip and fall despite your reasonable efforts to mitigate the risks associated with icy weather conditions, you may be entitled to a legal remedy. To determine whether you can receive compensation for injuries sustained due to someone else’s negligence, contact a qualified Marietta personal injury attorney from Jones & Swanson. We have decades of collective experience litigating personal injury matters, including car accidents and slip and fall cases. We are dedicated to taking the reins of litigation and guiding you through each step of the process so that you can focus on more important matters.

For more information, call Jones & Swanson at 770-427-5498 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.