AAA Northeast’s List of Top Safety Concerns

AAA Northeast’s list of Top Safety concerns for inclement weather.

 Of the average 5.74 million motor vehicle crashes every year with 22 percent occurring during adverse weather such as rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe winds or on slick pavement, according to the Federal Highway Administration. These crashes result, on average, in more than 445,000 injuries and nearly 5,900 fatalities annually. Here are a few ideas to avoid crashes.

  Winter Driving Safety:

  • Watch the traffic ahead of you. Slow down immediately – but, moderately – at the sight of brake lights, skidding vehicles or emergency lights.
  • Intersections can be especially dangerous as ice thaws from the heat of idling vehicles. Water on top of ice is a very dangerous situation.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes. Changing lanes increases your chances of hitting ice between lanes, which can cause a loss of traction.
  • Don’t power up snow-covered hills. It’s not easy for a vehicle to climb an icy road. If you’re stuck and you hit the gas, you may just spin your tires. If you must climb such an incline, try to get a little momentum going and let that carry you up. When you come to the crest, slow down and proceed cautiously, and slowly, downhill.
  • Don’t try to brake on ice if you can avoid it. If you’re approaching an area and you spot ice, apply your brakes on clear pavement to reduce speed. Black ice, sometimes referred to as flash ice, can catch even an experienced driver by surprise, it happens when a thin layer of moisture freezes on the roadway, and it can be very dangerous.
  • If you have anti-lock brakes, you can press hard on the pedal. It might vibrate a bit, but that’s normal. Vehicles with anti-lock brake systems allow drivers to brake and steer at the same time, possibly in avoidance of a collision.
  • Do not send or read text messages, or engage in other distracting behavior. That’s a critically important piece of advice for winter, or summer, or really any day of any year ever. Even if your vehicle is ready for winter and you follow all of the winter driving tips here, there is a chance you could be stuck with your vehicle for an extended period of time. Be prepared for such a situation by carrying an emergency road kit with the following items.
  • Be prepared for an emergency: 
  • Mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services.
  • Mobile phone car charger
  • Drinking water or sports drink
  • First-aid kit –including any necessary medication
  • Non-perishable food for humans and pets
  • Traction aids (sand, salt, non-clumping cat litter, traction mats)
  • Snow shovel
  • Blankets
  • Extra warm clothing (gloves, boots, hats, scarves)
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
  • Here are a few other tips from AAA to remember during such an emergency.
  • Stay with your vehicle. It provides shelter, and makes it easy for emergency responders to find you.
  • Don’t try to walk anywhere, especially in a storm. You could lose track of your vehicle, and if you lost control of your vehicle in a certain area, other vehicles might do the same.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard trying to get your vehicle out of the snow.
  • Let others know you’re in distress by trying a bright cloth to your vehicle’s antenna or placing a cloth at the top of a rolled up window. You can leave your dome lights on at night, too, another reason you’ll want to have had your battery checked.
  • Check to see if your exhaust pipe is clogged. If it is, do not run your engine. Doing so could lead to deadly carbon monoxide flooding the cabin.
  • If you’ve brought winter clothes, great. If not, don’t be afraid to use floor mats or other items in your car for warmth.
  • If your exhaust pipe is clear, you can run the engine and heater for warmth, but stay mindful of conserving fuel.
  • If you’re embarking on a long-distance trip, check out weather reports or weather apps before you leave. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • Also strongly recommended is a membership with an established automobile, association offering emergency roadside assistance like American Automobile Association, which provided some of these important safety tips. If however you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident, Attorney Jim Brady and Associates will be happy to assist you in any way we can. Safe driving !