The holidays may be over, but there are still several weeks of wintry weather to come for motorists in Maryland. If you put any faith in the Farmer’s Almanac, the 2020-2021 long range weather forecast for Baltimore might be cause for concern. Temperatures are predicted to be above normal during the early months of 2021, and the snowiest periods will continue through the first couple of weeks of March. Together, these factors make for slick, slippery conditions and increase the potential for wintertime auto accidents.
However, snow, ice, and sleet do not eliminate the need to get around for work and personal errands. You must still navigate rough weather conditions, so it is wise to practice a few safety tips to avoid wintertime auto accidents in Maryland. Besides the obvious recommendations to slow your speed and put down the cell phone, consider the following advice:
Properly Maintain Your Car and its Systems
In addition to the annual maintenance you handle throughout the year, there are additional tasks to ensure your vehicle is ready for winter conditions. Therefore:
- Test your battery, which can lose power when the temperature drops;
- Consider installing winter tires, which have a deeper tread to handle precipitation;
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid icing of your gas lines; and,
- Add windshield wiper fluid that is rated for freezing temperatures.
Cross-Check Before You Start the Engine
Before you head out, clear all snow and ice from the windshield, all windows, and mirrors. If your vehicle is equipped with advanced safety features, clean off camera lenses and other sensors. In extremely cold conditions, start the engine and run for three to five minutes before driving. The interior will be more comfortable for you AND your car’s systems will be at full functionality.
Follow Tips for Crash Avoidance
When you encounter a hazard and need to take evasive maneuvers, there are a few strategies that could prevent an accident or reduce the consequences of a collision.
- If you sense your tires are slipping, steer in the direction of the skid. When you regain traction, you will not need to overcorrect to resume a safe trajectory.
- Always accelerate and decelerate gradually.
- Do not use cruise control in heavy snow.
- Allow extra space between the front of your vehicle and the car ahead of you. Instead of measuring according to feet, start with the recommended “Two Second” rule – but increase it. In order words, you should ensure your vehicle passes a fixed object three seconds or more after the car ahead of you passed it.
A Baltimore County, MD Car Accident Attorney Can Explain Your Legal Options
Despite employing these tips and using your best efforts to stay safe, wintertime auto accidents are still a common tragedy on Maryland roadways. Fortunately, you may qualify to recover compensation from a negligent driver, including amounts for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For more information, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman. We can set up a free consultation to review your case and determine how to proceed.