Ready or not, for Minnesota’s almost 5.5 million residents, winter is here, and along with it, bitter cold and copious amounts of snow and ice.  Winter affects our daily lives in many ways, some positive, and some negative.  But few parts of our lives are as negatively affected by winter weather as much as the task of driving. winter weather can, and often does, lead to slippery and sloppy roads, poor visibility, poor traction, and stuck and stalled vehicles.  All of these hazards present dangers that simply are not there in warmer months.  In fact, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in 2013, more than 11,000 motor vehicle crashes, and 24 fatalities, occurred in snow/sleet/blowing snow conditions.

With the increased danger involved with driving in winter weather, motorists must take extra care and precaution to protect themselves and others while traveling. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration promotes the ” Three P’s of Safe Winter Driving: Prepare for the trip; Protect yourself; and Prevent crashes on the road,” in order to keep roads safe for all motorists.  Most of us know these rules, but they bear repeating.

Preparation:  Motorists can prepare for winter driving by:

  • Making sure their car is in good mechanical condition, including checking their battery, anti-freeze, windshield wipers and fluid, and tire tread.

  • Keeping an emergency kit, containing a flashlight, jumper cable, extra gloves, salt/sand, a shovel, warning devices and blankets.

  • Practicing winter driving in an empty parking lot.

Protection:  Motorists can protect themselves in winter driving by:

  • Always wearing their seat belts and making sure all children are properly secured in appropriate car seats and booster seats.

Prevention:  Motorists can help prevent crashes by:

  • Maintaining proper speed for the road conditions.

  • Increasing the distance between you and the car in front of you.

  • Allowing greater time and distance to stop while approaching intersections, stop signs, or slowed traffic.

Winter in Minnesota can be a scary time for drivers, but by following these simple suggestions, drivers can make the roads safer for themselves and for others.  If you are involved in an accident, call one of the experienced attorneys at Nelson Personal injury today for a free consultation.