Winter time is coming is Kansas, and for many, it is already here. Ideally, we would all stay home with a cup of hot cocoa and pass the day in front of a blazing fire when winter weather strikes, but living in a state like Kansas, where winter weather is fact of daily life, staying home when it snows is not an option.
Surprisingly, according to the National Traffic and Highway Administration, driving in the winter is not the most dangerous time to drive. That dubious distinction is reserved for the month of August, but while there are less injuries and fatalities in winter, the number of crashes increases dramatically. The majority of winter crashes occur after the first significant snowfall of the year as Kansas drivers reacquaint themselves with driving in snowy and icy conditions.
How do you keep from becoming another statistic? You take the time to refresh yourself on winter driving techniques before that first snow fall. Below, you will discover several techniques that will keep you safe throughout the upcoming winter months.
- Slow Down
Winter road conditions in Kansas often make it difficult to stop. Before you take the road this winter, remind yourself that you need to allow at least 3 times the distance you normally take to come to a complete stop. Decreasing your speed will give you more time to stop or avoid unexpected obstacles in the road.
- Be Easy on the Breaks
Yes, it will take more time to stop, but there is another danger inherent in icy Kansas roads—skidding. When you over brake during the winter, you could potentially lose all control as you begin to skid and slide down the road. If you feel yourself losing traction, ease off the brakes and allow your tires to regain grip.
- Turn on Your Lights
Visibility is poor during the winter—especially if your car is light in color. Make sure other motorists can see you by turning on your lights—even when the sun is out.
- Clean Your Windshield and Headlights
Ice can accumulate overnight on both your windshield—easy to see—and your headlights—harder to see. Make sure to thoroughly clean each before you get in the car and allow time for the defrost to remove all ice on your windshield before taking the road.
- Use Low Gears and Avoid Cruise Control
Driving in a Kansas winter requires active driving. Use your lower gears to maintain traction—especially when going up or down hills. You should also avoid using cruise control. Taking your foot off the gas means it will take you longer to react to a potentially hazardous situation.
- Watch Out for Bridges
Bridges and overpasses ice over long before surface roads. Reduce your speed as you approach a bridge or overpass and watch out for slick, icy spots.
- Never Pass Snowplows
These large vehicles have one goal—pushing snow. They are not concerned with other motorists and the driver’s visibility is low. In addition, when you pass a snowplow, you are driving straight into bad road conditions. Snowplows, like big rigs, can result in bad accidents which means extra care should be taken.
These are just general guidelines that every Kansas driver should remind himself of before taking the road this winter. Be careful out there this winter. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and use that time. Slowing down and being alert will protect both you and other drivers on the road.
Should you follow the tips above and still get in an accident, please reach out to us for a Free Case Evaluation to see how we can help you recover from your accident.