Driving in Winter Weather: A Helpful Guide from Telaré Law

Driving in Winter Weather: A Helpful Guide from Telaré LawLots of winter weather is on its way to Kennewick and other parts of Washington in the coming weeks and months. Since winter weather is a major contributing factor to car accidents, many people know that this means more collisions will likely happen soon.

However, no matter how many times people navigate the wet and icy roads in our area, many drivers still fail to take the time to learn how to drive in winter weather or take the necessary precautions to prevent car accidents from occurring. Telaré Law wants you to stay safe on the roads this year, so we’ve put together some information we think you should know.

Why driving in the winter weather in Kennewick, WA is different

Driving in the winter weather in Kennewick, WA can be very different from other parts of the country. While many areas of the United States never see freezing temperatures or even much snow, Kennewick and other parts of the state of Washington have to gear up and prepare for frigid temperatures, freezing rain, and even heavy snowfalls early on. In fact, the Washington State Department of Transportation sent out an alert to the public in mid-October, letting everyone know that winter weather is coming and it is time to get your studded tires ready.

Some of the different types of winter weather that visitors and residents often see in Kennewick and other parts of Southeast Washington include:

  • Black ice
  • Heavy rain
  • Freezing rain
  • Strong and forceful winds
  • Heavy snowfalls
  • Freezing temperatures
  • Wet leaves and other hidden debris on the roads

Steps to take to prepare to drive in winter weather in Kennewick, WA

Regardless of if you are a visitor, newcomer, or even a long-time native of Kennewick, you might need a refresher on the steps that you should take to prepare to drive in winter weather. Here are eight steps to remember to follow in the upcoming months:

  1. Have your vehicle serviced and ready for winter weather: Before you leave your house and decide to drive in winter weather, it is crucial that you make sure your vehicle is serviced and ready for winter weather. This means you should consider taking your vehicle to a shop every October or November to make sure that it is up to date and ready to take on the streets during snow, sleet, rain, winds, and more. In order for your vehicle to be ready for winter weather, it will need new windshield wipers, chains, studded tires, new or rotated tires, an oil change, and more.
  2. Add some extra supplies and necessities to a safe place in your vehicle: When the winter months arrive, it is always advisable to add some extra supplies and necessities to your vehicle. For example, you may want to add a blanket, an ice scraper, jumper cables, a first aid kit, snacks, flashlights, and more. Keep these items in a safe place so that you know where they are. This is beneficial if your car ever breaks down, you are involved in an accident, or you get stuck in traffic during a snowstorm.
  3. Test out your new windshield wipers, studded tires, and chains before you drive around traffic: Never decide to drive around traffic until you have tested out your new windshield wipers, studded tires, and chains. If you do not test them out, you could end up finding out that something is not right when you are already around several cars or in a bad ice storm, which could be a disaster.
  4. Make sure your vehicle is one that should be driven in winter weather conditions: Before you drive in winter weather conditions, you should make sure that your vehicle can handle inclement weather. For example, trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. However, if there is an emergency and you must navigate the roads, it is critical that you drive very carefully and cautiously to avoid an accident.
  5. Drive below the speed limit: Once you are out on the roads driving through the snow or icy conditions, it is important that you drive slowly. This means that you may want to consider driving below the speed limit. Speed limits are put in place for drivers to follow during normal weather conditions. Therefore, in order to be careful and cautious during inclement weather, it is suggested that you drive below the speed limit. Even if you are in a hurry, speeding and arriving at your destination on time is not worth losing your life or injuring anyone else.
  6. Give others enough room and space: Snow and black ice can prevent you from being able to slow down or stop in time when around other vehicles. You should always give other drivers enough room and space in case you or anyone else needs more time to slow down or come to a complete stop. Rear-end accidents are very common during the winter months, and the main culprit for this is failing to provide enough room between vehicles.
  7. Only press on the brakes slowly: Next, you should only press on the brakes slowly. If you slam on the brakes during a winter weather storm, there is a high chance that you will start skidding and sliding, which can cause a serious accident. Therefore, it is advisable that you only press on the brakes lightly and slowly.
  8. Try to avoid any hills: If you can, it is highly recommended that you try to avoid any hills. The reason for this is because driving uphill during icy or snowy conditions can cause your wheels to spin, and driving downhill can cause you to slide. Both of these scenarios can lead to you losing control of your vehicle, running off the road, or colliding with other drivers.

Tune in and stay informed about possible winter weather storms in the area

Before any type of winter weather storms or rainy conditions impact your area, you should be aware and ready for them. If you are aware and ready, you will be less likely to be involved in a car crash. The following are a few of the ways you can tune in and stay informed about winter weather storms in the area:

  • The Washington State Department of Transportation’s website
  • Your local news stations
  • Weather applications
  • Social media postings from weather channels/ government agencies

If you suffer injuries from a winter weather car collision, Telaré Law is here to help you. Our Kennewick car accident attorneys are available to provide legal advice regarding your accident and explain what we think you should do going forward. We know and understand that it does not matter how much you prepare; sometimes, you cannot prevent other drivers’ negligent behavior. Our team will stand up and fight for your rights and ensure that your side of the story is taken into account. Call or contact us to schedule your free case review at our Kennewick office today. We proudly serve all of Washington State.