Earlier this week, the winter switch was flipped in the St. Louis region. The winter snow storm on Monday left a wake of traffic congestion and accidents across the metro area. While the official snowfall total was only 1.5 inches in St. Louis, it wreaked havoc on area roads causing 203 crashes and injuring 17 people.
Here are 5 tips for safe winter-weather driving:
Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Pay special attention to ensure the wiper blades and the front/rear defrosters are working properly. Make sure all fluids are topped off and don’t let the gas tank get below half empty during the winter.
Before setting off on any winter excursion, be sure to stock your vehicle with the following emergency supplies: jumper cables, ice scraper, flash light, fuel line de-icer, first-aid kit, blankets, water, and a few snacks. You may also want to keep a bag of sand or cat litter in your car – as it can poured around tires to gain traction if you get stuck.
While out on the road, keep an eye out for black ice – which gets its name because it blends in with its surroundings. Black ice is especially dangerous because it is difficult to spot. Be on the lookout for areas of an otherwise dry roadway that appear dark and glossy.
Watch the outside temperature, as black ice typically forms when the temperature is 32 degrees or colder. The most commons areas where black ice forms are shaded or tree-lined roadways due to the lack of sunshine and bridges/overpasses due to their ability to freeze quickly.
If you find your car sliding on ice, the best thing to do is stay calm. Do not make any sudden corrections or slam on your brakes. Instead, lift your foot off the accelerator and hold the steering wheel straight. Most patches of black ice are not that large, so if you hold the car in position on the road – chances are you’ll slid over the ice quickly. If you feel the car skidding, turn the wheel in the direction of the skid and only apply the gas once you’ve felt the car gain traction.
If your car gets stuck, don’t floor the accelerator in order to ‘power out’ of the ice or snow. Instead, place the sand, cat litter, a piece of cardboard or your car’s floor mat under the tires and gently pull out of the slippery area.
In all winter driving circumstances, proceed with caution, go slowly and you will arrive at your destination safely. A meteorologist in Charlotte, North Carolina offered one of the best tips for driving in sleet, freezing rain or snow:
We couldn’t agree more. Stay safe on the roads this winter!
Casey, Devoti & Brockland is a St. Louis-based law firm focused exclusively on personal injury litigation. Since 1983, our attorneys have helped injured people navigate the road to recovery by securing compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. Together Partners Matt Casey, Matt Devoti and Anne Brockland have nearly 50 years of trial experience handling the following personal injury matters: car, truck and train crashes, victims of impaired and distracted driving, medical malpractice, birth injuries, product liability, premises liability, elder and sexual abuse, Workers’ Compensation and wrongful death. We proudly serve clients throughout metropolitan St. Louis, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.
Our highly accessible attorneys deliver the perfect balance of aggressive legal representation, compassion and personal service. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, call the office today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (314) 421-0763.