Dear Reader,

Winter is in full force this year. We’ve already seen snow, sleet, and ice, and if you believe the weather reports, we have a chilly forecast lined up for February.

Snow days can be great fun when you’re throwing snowballs with the kids in the backyard or cuddling up with a cup of cocoa in front of a warm fire. But for most of us trying to find our way across the city for work each day, snow days mean a stressful and potentially dangerous commute through treacherous icy roads.

I want to help ensure your safe travels for the remainder of our winter weather season.  So today, I’m sharing some winter weather rules I picked up from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.

Read these through. Share them, especially with new drivers or those unfamiliar with driving in icy conditions.

They could save the life of someone you care about.

  1. Slow down. This may seem like common sense, but in the past few years, an average of 100,000 reported crashes occurred each year because of a combination of high speeds and icy roads. Maintaining a slow, constant speed and leaving plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you will keep you, your passengers, and other drivers around you safe on the road.
  2. In case of an emergency…let’s say you’re on a road trip and your car stalls, stay with your car. Leaving can mean frostbite, hypothermia, or even death.  Stay with your vehicle and keep it visible. Use bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light on.  Be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning.  This means you must be sure the exhaust pipe stays clear of snow and you run the car only sporadically, just long enough to keep warm.
  3. Keep an eye on your tires. Make sure the tires are filled to the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure.  Make sure they are in good shape. No dry rot. No visible sign of wear or excessive age. No damage, bulges, scrapes, cracks or bumps.
  4. Keep an eye on your youngest passengers and beware of heavy coats and car seats. If you’re the parent of a young child, you’ll be tempted to bundle them in a warm jacket and load them straight into their car seat. This is a mistake. Heavy coats can interfere with the proper harness fit on a car seat. Instead, consider thin, warm layers and place blankets or coats around them after the harness is snug and secure if they need extra warmth.
  5. Have your Battery Inspected. When temperatures drop, so does your battery power, and the last thing you need is a dead battery when you’re far from home on a biting cold day. Have your mechanic check your battery, charging system, and belts.
  6. Before you go for a drive, make sure your lights work, check your windshield wipers, and be sure you have a full tank of gas.
  7. Consider stocking your vehicle with a snow shovel or ice scraper, jumper cables, blankets, a cell phone, a charger, and emergency rations like water and granola bars.

Lastly, know your route and make sure the roads you’re considering are well-maintained.  Stay off of roads less traveled. Stay visible and if at all possible, just stay home on icy days.

Until next time, be safe, stay warm, and NEVER text while driving.

Sincerely,

Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 and 301-949-1515

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