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Staying Safe on Deteriorating Winter Roads

How to Safely Avoid Potholes and Other Dangerous Road Conditions this Winter

It is no secret that the increased precipitation and treatment of roadways during the winter months can cause the pavement to deteriorate much quicker than normal. While avoiding driving during winter conditions is almost impossible these days, it is important to be aware of the road’s condition and employ safe driving habits during this sometimes treacherous time of year. Not only is driving on damaged roads unsafe for drivers and passengers, it can also be damaging to a vehicle which can often result in costly auto repairs. Here are some tips to help keep you safe when driving on damaged winter roads.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

The most important safety tip to keep in mind when driving in wintery conditions or on damaged roads is to pay close attention to your surroundings. First, make sure to be aware of when road conditions start to deteriorate and be prepared to make corrective movements to help avoid potholes, splits in the pavement, and other hazards if you can do so safely. Also, pay attention to how other vehicles are reacting to the road conditions – if cars are slowing down at a certain portion of the road, make sure to proceed with caution as this could be an indication of road damage or hazardous conditions.

Be Prepared to Report Road or Vehicle Damage

If you come across a large pothole or major damage to a roadway, make sure to report the problem to the local authorities. If hitting a pothole or other hazard causes damage to your vehicle, you suspect damage has been done, or you get into an accident due to winter road conditions, safely pull over as soon as possible and document the damage. If the accident is caused by poor road conditions, make sure to document the area where the damage took place and take pictures to add to the report. If you get into an accident with another vehicle, make sure to make a notation regarding the road conditions in the report.

Do Routine Cold Weather Maintenance

Before cold weather hits, take your vehicle to a professional mechanic to have the car fully winterized. This should include checking all fuel levels, including antifreeze and oil, as well as making sure the battery, lights, thermostat, headlights, brakes, and wipers work properly. During the winter, always maintain a fuel level of a half tank or more to ensure the car will run properly, even in cold temperatures. When preparing to drive, start your vehicle and allow it to warm up before leaving – this will allow the engine to warm up as well as defrost the windshield if needed.

Driving in hazardous conditions can be very challenging and there is nothing wrong with taking a refresher course or going to a driving school like Training Wheels for some additional training. Whether you are a new teen driver looking for Behind the Wheel Training or someone that just needs instruction on defensive driving, please give us a call. For more information regarding our services, please click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Mike Mozart via Creative Commons License