Ice storms might mean snow days for children, but it can mean car accidents and headaches for adults.
A winter storm considered "the worst to hit the United States in years" pummeled the nation's central states on Friday, leaving many to deal with icy roads, frozen cars, and cancelled flights, reports Reuters. And more icy weather is on the way for the weekend.
What can drivers do to prepare for an ice storm?
Keep Your Car Prepared
Even before you get on the road, you need to make sure that your car is well stocked with provisions in case of an emergency. That can include:
- Road flares,
- A first-aid kit,
- Jumper cables,
- A cell phone charger, and
- Snow chains/links.
AAA recommends that you also never warm up your car in an enclosed space, like a garage. Doing so may increase your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Although it's important regardless of the weather, check your tread and air pressure on your tires. Bald, flat tires may make driving in icy conditions even more difficult.
While on the Road...
If you have to leave the warm pocket of air between your bed and comforter and hop in your car, remember to take extra care on the road.
Not only do drivers tend to be anxious or nervous when winter weather hits, but icy conditions can make normal braking and traffic a complicated ballet. Don't stress about the snow, drive safely by remembering to:
- Slow down (speed limits are rated for normal, dry weather conditions);
- Pump the brakes (don't slam on them);
- Clear your windshield and all mirrors (buy an ice scraper); and
- Leave some space between you and the car ahead of you -- especially if it's a snow plow or salt truck.
Be as careful as possible, but sometimes icy weather accidents are inevitable.
If You Get in a Crash
The most mundane accident during cold-weather driving involves cars sliding into each other at low speeds in a parking lot. Even if the lot is like a skating rink, remember to deal with these fender-benders calmly and responsibly.
That means exchanging insurance information, checking for injuries, and recording damage to both cars -- for example, taking pictures with your smartphone camera.
If you get into a high-speed collision, remember that you can still be held at fault for driving at the posted speed limit when icy road conditions are present.
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