Winter Weather Driving Tips for Nebraska Drivers
Our Omaha attorneys share winter weather driving tips to help you reduce your risk of a crash.
Snow-covered roads, black ice, shorter days, reduced visibility, and the occasional blizzard often put a damper on driving in Nebraska. But much worse, winter weather conditions contribute to thousands of injurious and fatal crashes across the United States each year.
The car accident attorneys at Ausman Law Firm P.C., L.L.O. have seen far too many injuries and deaths related to winter driving. Below, we offer winter weather driving tips for Nebraska drivers that can help keep you safe during unfavorable conditions.
Winter Weather Driving Tips
There’s no better time than now to prepare for winter driving. The steps outlined below can help you reduce the risk of winter driving before you hit the road.
Prepare your vehicle
First and foremost, be sure to maintain, optimize, and update your vehicle. Start by creating a checklist that covers the following vehicle parts:
- Tires: Poorly maintained tires often result in tire blowouts and a loss of traction. If you find any tread or sidewall damage, get your tires repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Also, check for tread wear and tear by using the penny test.
- Car Seats: Do you have young children? Always double-check your car seats to ensure they’re properly installed and secure. Also, consider replacing thick coats with lighter jackets and blankets to avoid interfering with a properly fitted harness.
- Batteries: The cold winter temperatures will likely impact your vehicle’s battery. To avoid losing battery power while starting or operating your vehicle, have a mechanic inspect it and replace it if necessary.
- Floor Mats: You may feel compelled to replace your floor mats when winter arrives. But installation should be done with caution to avoid interference with the accelerator and brake pedal.
- Lights: The shorter days during the winter make for less visibility. Always double-check that your headlights, turn signals, interior lights, and emergency flashers work correctly.
- Windshield wipers: If your windshield wipers fail to clear your windshield of snow, water, and streaks, consider replacing them as soon as possible.
Prepare for emergencies
You never know when an emergency will arise. Unfortunately, some drivers get stranded due to severe winter weather conditions or vehicle malfunctions. To best prepare for the unexpected, be sure to stock up on the following items:
- A snow shovel, an ice scraper, and a broom.
- Sand or other abrasive materials in case your vehicle gets stuck.
- Jumper cables.
- Flashlights and roadside flares.
- Water and non-perishable food.
- A cellphone and charger.
- A full tank of gas.
Plan before traveling
It’s always best practice to avoid driving during inclement winter weather if you don’t have to. But if you must drive, consider taking the following steps to plan ahead of time:
- Check the weather forecast.
- Check traffic reports.
- Familiarize yourself with your route and possible detours you could take.
- Let others know your anticipated arrival time.
When there’s snow, take it slow.
This is one of the essential winter weather driving tips to consider. We can’t stress the importance of allowing yourself more time and reducing your speed during snowy conditions. Drivers who speed on snowy roads often cause rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, head-on collisions, and rollovers.
When driving on snowy or icy roads, you should do the following:
- Accelerate slowly.
- Apply the brake pedal gradually.
- Steer gently.
- Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
In the event of a spinout, keep your steering wheel as straight as possible and let your vehicle naturally regrip the road. Avoid hitting the brakes until your vehicle starts to regain control.
Watch out for black ice.
Black ice is often difficult to spot, especially at night when it’s most likely to form. Black ice typically develops on overpasses and areas that get little or no sun exposure.
If you skid on black ice, here’s what you should do:
- Turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid.
- Avoid hitting your brakes.
- Take your foot off the gas pedal until your vehicle comes to a complete stop.
Talk to an Omaha car accident lawyer if you're hurt in a winter crash.
Following these winter weather driving tips drastically reduces the risk of injury to yourself and your loved ones. However, you can’t always predict the actions of other drivers. That’s why at Ausman Law Firm P.C., L.L.O., we are committed to fighting for the rights of crash victims and holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions.
If you’ve been injured in a crash, contact us for a free consultation. We can walk you through your legal options, launch a thorough investigation into your crash, and fight to recover every penny you deserve. Our Omaha-based legal team proudly serves clients across Nebraska.