Driving Safely In Snow Helps Prevent Accidents And The Auto Insurance Claims That Follow

Although snow can be beautiful to look at, the white stuff isn't always as appealing when you're driving in it. In fact, snowy weather conditions can make driving conditions quite hazardous. Any bad weather makes driving more difficult, increasing the risk of a collision and the need for auto accident insurance to cover the losses. But in addition to purchasing collision coverage for your own vehicle and liability coverage to pay for injury and/or property damage claims filed against you, your auto insurer may recommend practicing certain driving safety measures to help avoid snow-related accidents–keeping you and others safe and saving both you and your insurance company money.

  • Keep your vehicle well-maintained for winter travel. Take your vehicle in for a checkup before the first winter storm hits. Ask your mechanic check the tire pressure and tread on your vehicle's all-season or snow tires, fluid levels– including antifreeze and windshield washer fluid–headlights, heater and defroster, battery, brakes, and any mechanical problems that can lead to an accident.
  • Stay home until weather conditions–and road conditions–improve. If it isn't possible for you to remain at home when it snows, allow yourself more time than usual to reach your destination. Never rush while traveling on snowy or icy roads. It's better to arrive late to wherever you're going then to risk being in an accident.
  • Clean all snow and ice off the windshield, roof, and trunk of your vehicle. Snow and ice on the hood can slide down over the windshield and block your view. Snow on the roof and trunk of your vehicle can also blow off and into the path of vehicles following behind.
  • Allow distance between you and other vehicles. Give yourself plenty of time to stop. Because it takes longer to stop when driving on wet and slippery roadways, increase your following distance to at least eight to ten seconds.
  • Drive at a slower speed when traveling in poor weather conditions. Although it helps to drive at a constant speed, avoid using cruise control on snow-covered roads. If your vehicle starts to skid, when you deactivate the cruise control, the change in wheel speed can make you skid more.
  • Brake gently when you need to stop. If your vehicle starts to slide, avoid applying the brake hard. Slow down by taking your foot off the gas pedal until you regain control of the vehicle. Accelerate slowly until your tire traction improves.
  • Be alert to the possibility of ice on the road. If you don't hear tire sounds while driving, there may be ice on the road.
  • Keep in mind that bridges freeze first. Even if the road ahead of a bridge isn't slippery, there's a good chance that the bridge may be icy. Always drive more cautiously on exit ramps as well, as road crews sometimes apply less anti-icing agents on off-ramps than on highways and roads.
  • Watch out for snow plows on the road. Don't drive too closely behind the back of a snow plow. Take into account that the snow plow operator may not be able to see your vehicle behind the truck. If you must pass a snow plow, return to the lane in front of the plow slowly. Leave plenty of distance behind you for the plow. Keep in mind that when a plow driver is clearing the snow his or her visibility–and yours–can be obscured by blowing snow. Give the plow plenty of stopping distance in case the driver needs to make a sudden stop or get out of the way of another vehicle.