As Central New Yorkers, we are well aware of the rough road conditions and sub-zero temperatures that our winter brings. The snow and ice affect our visibility and traction driving down the road while the freezing temperatures can be brutal on our vehicles. These conditions are often the cause of frequent car accidents during the winter months.
Almost 70% of the entire United States population lives in a snowy region of the country. This means many Americans are affected by difficult driving conditions and potential car accidents during the winter months. In New York State, 2,767 people died in car accidents during messy winter weather conditions such as snowfall, sleet, or freezing rain, from 1975 to 2011. In the study, CNY exceeded the expected rates of a car crash during the winter. For instance, Oswego County had 4.7 fatalities for each expected death, that’s over four times what they predicted. The snowy driving conditions, make traction and visibility more difficult, and if you combine this with a speed that is too fast for the weather and roadway conditions, it can lead to disaster and a car accident.
Winterizing Your Vehicle
To prepare for the freezing temperatures outside and the hazardous road conditions, Central New Yorkers must properly winterize their vehicles. Take a look at these 10 tips on how to prepare your vehicle for the winter:
- Install winter tires – For especially slick winters, switching from all-season tires to tires made specifically for the snow may be a good choice.
- Replace your windshield wipers – When visibility is already low, a good set of windshield wipers can make a world of difference. With snow, salt, and freezing rain coming at your vehicle, you will most likely be using your wipers more frequently in the winter.
- Check your battery – Make sure the fluid is at the correct level according to your owner’s manual and make sure it is fully charged. This may require visiting a service station or auto store to ensure your battery is good to go for the winter.
- Examine your coolant levels – Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, colder conditions usually call for a 60/40 or 70/30 ratio of antifreeze and water. Do not use more antifreeze to water than recommended by the manufacturer of your car.
- Check your engine oil – Sub zero temperatures usually thicken your engine oil. Depending on your manufacturer, your vehicle may need multi-weight oil suitable for multiple temperature conditions or specific oil for freezing temperature conditions.
- Warm your vehicle up – One of the first things taught to drivers in CNY is to let your car warm up before you hop in and go during the colder winter months. Doing this allows your vehicle’s oil to warm up and run more smoothly.
- Wax your vehicle – To prevent the damage caused by salt and sand on the roadways, wax your car to protect the paint.
- Prevent handles from freezing – Liquid can get into locks and freeze in sub zero temperatures. To prevent being froze outside of your vehicle, use a lubricate or silicone spray. If the damage has been done, use antifreeze to melt the ice.
- Invest in floor mats – Imagine trudging through the slush and then bringing the combination or ice and mud into your precious vehicle. Keep the snow from going through the carpet and into the floorboards, purchase a set of floor mats for the winter.
- Pack a vehicle emergency kit for all of the reasons set forth below.
Vehicle Emergency Kit
An essential thing that should be in every vehicle during the winter, especially in CNY, is a vehicle emergency kit. Sometimes the unfortunate happens and you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road in nearly sub-zero temperatures. To ensure the safety of you and your loved ones in the car with you, a vehicle emergency kit will have what you need to survive until help arrives. Items in a winter car emergency kit include:
This could be one of the most important items on this list. The first-aid kit should include an assortment of bandages, gauze pads, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, or anything you or your family may need in case of an emergency.
Charged old cell phone
Do you remember that old flip phone that you used to have? Keep it charged and inside your kit in case your current phone battery is dead and you need to call 911, as even if the phone is not connected to a network, you will still be able to call 911.
These reflective triangles will signal oncoming traffic of where you are parked on the road. Putting reflective triangles around your vehicle will give other cars an opportunity to slow down or even stop if you need help.
Gasoline and car batteries could be at risk of catching fire if your vehicle malfunctions. A fire extinguisher rated for Class B and Class C fires is appropriate for your vehicle emergency kit.
Seems simple but if you ever find yourself stranded for an extended period of time, water is essential to your survival.
Granola bars, protein bars, a jar of nuts, these snacks will hold you over if you are in a bind for a few hours.
If your car runs out of gas and you will no longer be able to use the heat, blankets will keep you warm in the freezing temperature.
Flashlight and extra batteries
If you are driving at night and break down, a flashlight will allow you to look under the hood to see if something is wrong.
Hat, gloves, and boots
Imagine you are all dressed up for a fancy party and your vehicle breaks down on the way there. Going outside to check under the hood in a pair of high heeled pumps is just not wise or practical. A hat, earmuffs, gloves, and boots are all solid items to include in your vehicle emergency kit to keep you warm.
This will be a handy tool if you need to check the air pressure in your spare tire.
If you need a jumpstart, these will do the trick. The jumper cables should be at least ten feet long with an 8-gauge rubber.
It fixes everything right…?
If you need to dig yourself out, a snow shovel will come in handy.
Everyone in CNY should be carrying one of these!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash call The People’s Lawyer today. We have seen our fair share of car accidents throughout the winter in CNY, making us extremely experienced auto accident attorneys ready to fight for you and your rights. Contact Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman for a free consultation and discuss your options for a car accident lawsuit today.
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