There’s no way around it: winter driving is dangerous. And in Alberta, where the cold weather lasts for almost 7 months, we do more than our fair share of driving in slippery, snowy, icy, and low-visibility conditions. When the mercury drops and the snow falls, the number of collisions rises. In Calgary and Edmonton, it’s not uncommon to have hundreds of motor vehicle accidents in a single day during a severe winter storm. In some cases, accidents in the winter are simply unavoidable, but by taking a few precautions, you can reduce your risk of having one:
- Get Winter Tires. Most “all-season” tires aren’t rated below -7C, and as Albertans, we call that a warm winter’s day. Yes they can be pricey, and it’s a minor pain to switch tires on your car or truck twice a year, but if they help keep you and your family safe, aren’t they worth it?
- Keep Your Distance. On slippery roads traction decreases and braking distance increases, even with winter tires. You’re paying attention, but what about the person in front of you? If a sudden stop is required, you’re going to need some room. It’s also a good idea to maintain a larger following distance when at a stop – if the person behind you can’t stop, you can avoid being pushed into the car in front of you, and you may even have an escape route.
- Look for the Snow. At intersections, even with sanding, the areas where cars stop tend to become icy. If you need to stop and the road is slippery, look for snow because snow = traction. Move out of the icy ruts onto the fresh snow to give your tires something to grip and give yourself a chance to stop.
- Clear Your Windows and Vehicle of Snow. You might be in a hurry, but that snow on your car or truck is reducing your visibility and that of others when it blows off. Take the time to scrape and brush.
- Slow Down. This one seems obvious, but it’s important to remember that speed limits are set with normal conditions in mind. When roads are bad, take your foot off the gas.
- Pull Off of the Road. If you get caught in a blizzard or white-out, look for a place to pull completely off of the road, such as a gas station or a Tim’s. Take a break, have a coffee, and let it blow over. If you’re on the highway, consider grabbing a hotel room for the night. It’s not a good idea to pull over to the shoulder, as other drivers might not see you there and could run into your vehicle.
- Stay Home. We all have busy lives, full schedules, and places to go, but staying at home due to bad weather is a minor inconvenience compared to the upheaval that a serious car or truck accident could cause in your life.
We hope you don’t get into an accident this winter, or in any other season for that matter, but if you do, we’ll be here to protect your rights, stand up to the insurance companies for you, and get you the compensation you deserve. It’s a mess out there on the roads, but dealing with a motor vehicle accident claim can be even messier. That’s why our experienced car and truck accident injury lawyers are here: to deal with the paperwork and legal issues so you don’t have to. Along with our dedicated support staff, they can help get your life back to normal. We’ve been doing personal injury law in Alberta for nearly 40 years, and we have the kind of knowledge and expertise that comes from dealing with thousands of car and truck accident cases in Calgary, Edmonton, and across the province every year. If you’ve been in an accident, and you need help, call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers. You’ll never pay us a single cent in fees until we win your claim.