The holiday season is upon us! It is a time of cheer, but unfortunately, the holidays are associated with higher rates of traffic collisions — primarily because of this time of year’s road conditions. In Michigan, ice, hail, and snow can transform a perfectly safe road into a hazardous one. To help you stay safe and prevent getting into any accidents, here are some of our attorneys’ tips to keep in mind when you get behind the wheel this winter.
How to Drive Safely During the Holidays
- Plan Ahead
One of the most important things to do in terms of holiday and winter road travel is to plan ahead. As mentioned, road conditions can be dangerous during this time of the year, so make sure to have your vehicle serviced and to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
- Have an Emergency Kit Ready
It is wise to have an emergency kit and a spare phone charger on hand, as well as several items specifically helpful in winter weather, such as blankets, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, and cat litter for traction. Similarly, learn how to put snow chains on and always keep them in your vehicle should you need them in a pinch.
- Do Not Drive Under the Influence
This tip cannot be stressed enough. If you have been drinking alcohol or taking other substances that affect your alertness and ability to operate heavy machinery, do not attempt to drive. Doing so is not only prohibited but can be fatal.
- Avoid Distracted Driving
While many of us know not to text and drive, any form of distraction while driving is not ideal. For instance, changing the music on your phone, adjusting heating controls, checking your phone’s navigation app, and eating, among other activities, all take your eyes and/or attention off the road and can lead to dangerous accidents.
- Practice Defensive Driving
Driving defensively can go a long way toward keeping yourself and others around you safe. You cannot control other drivers on the road, but you can follow traffic laws and refrain from engaging in any form of road rage or reckless driving. Even refraining from speeding decreases your chances of getting into an accident, especially on icy roads.
- Pay Attention to Winter Road Conditions
During the winter months, reviewing weather, road, and traffic reports prior to getting behind the wheel will help you avoid any unfavorable conditions. If you do find yourself stuck driving in conditions that are less than optimal, proceed with caution. Drive slower than you normally would and, to be on the safe side, assume that there could be black ice ahead.
- Be Mindful of Skidding Wheels
If your front wheels skid, shift to neutral. Your vehicle will slow down as it skids. Once traction returns, steer the wheel in the direction you want to go, shift to drive, and slowly accelerate. If your rear tires are skidding, you will also need to steer to get where you want to go but make sure to apply steady pressure to your brakes. If you have standard brakes instead of anti-lock brakes (ABS), then you will need to pump them gently.
About Grewal Law PLLC
A premier, full-service Michigan law firm, Grewal Law PLLC represents clients facing legal issues in a range of practice areas, from personal injury to family law and criminal defense. We are actively engaged in giving back to our community, such as through Survivor Strong and the Small Talk Children’s Advocacy Center, among others. For help from a team of lawyers that cares about you as an individual, not as another case file, contact Grewal Law PLLC online or at (888) 211-5798.