Every year, more than 1,300 road users are killed and nearly 120,000 are injured during accidents that occur on wet, icy or snow-covered roads, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Veterans need to take extra precautions when driving, as a report published in the Journal of Traffic Injury prevention found that this group exhibits a considerably higher risk of motor vehicle accident fatality compared to the general U.S. population.
With the temperatures already dipping and winter just around the corner, now is as good a time as any to make sure that you are as prepared for cold-weather driving as possible. Apart from only driving when you absolutely have to, it is also important to ensure that your vehicle is in a good condition and that you have emergency supplies on hand should you get stuck on the road during periods of extreme weather.
Only drive if you have to
One of the simplest ways a veteran can avoid pitfalls when driving during winter is to only drive when it is completely necessary. If you can avoid driving when there is water, snow or rain on the road, do so. Instead of making trips to the grocery store or dining out, call delivery service.
Where possible, also postpone any non-essential appointments that are scheduled during periods of inclement weather. Unfortunately, it will not always be possible to avoid driving. When you have no other choice but to take to the road, at least ensure you have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that both you and your vehicle are ready to face the elements.
Make vehicle maintenance a priority
Driving in wet or icy conditions can pose a challenge for even the most experienced of veteran drivers. Although you are more than likely up to date with your car maintenance, it can’t hurt to do a few precautionary check-ups before winter arrives. Always start with the basics, which will include checking the levels of your antifreeze and oil. Other pivotal maintenance tasks include ensuring that you have enough tread on your tires and that your brakes are in optimal working condition.
If you don’t have sufficient grip on the road or if you are unable to stop your car swiftly when an emergency arises, you may be involved in an accident. Apart from causing serious injury, a car accident can also result in costly damage, emotional distress, and loss of income. While driving on frosty roads may become habitual for residents in states such as Vermont and Maine, even drivers in low-snow states such as Texas should be aware of the risks and ensure that their vehicles are well-maintained.
In fact, according to car accident lawyers in Weslaco, improper maintenance of the vehicle is a leading cause of road vehicle accidents in the state, making it vital to conduct your maintenance check as the cold weather approaches.
Stock your vehicle with emergency supplies
Anyone who has served in the armed forces will know how important it is to have emergency supplies on hand during potentially-perilous situations. Regardless of how safely you drive, it isn’t always possible to predict when the weather, a breakdown, or an accident will leave you stranded by the side of the road. Always be prepared for the worst by having an emergency kit stashed away in your car.
There are virtually countless items you can include in your kit, although there are a number of basics that you should not ignore. This includes a blanket, bottled water, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first-aid kit, road flares, and, of course, your trusted multi-tool. Other items that may come in handy include a roll of duct tape, a compass, a small fire extinguisher, and a collapsible snow shovel.
While it is not always ideal to drive around during inclement weather, it cannot always be avoided. Thankfully, there are a number of guidelines to follow to make winter-driving considerably safer.