Slow And Steady: Prepare For Slippery Roads With Winter Driving Tips

For the second year in a row, the first snow fell in mid-November. It might seem a bit early for the streets to be covered in white dust, but it is what it is.

Unfortunately for many drivers, their cars were not prepared for even the smallest amount of ice crystals on the pavement. The already treacherous roads, full of pot holes and enough traffic to give everyone a headache, will only get worse.

With the cold weather and roads that haven’t been paved in years, automobiles need to be ready for the worst possible conditions.

Michael Bergman, Esq, is a partner at Bergman, Bergman, Fields & Lamonsoff, LLP, one of the leading firms in New

York State representing victims of automobile, motorcycle, construction and slip/trip and fall accidents, as well as victims of medical malpractice. For more than 25 years, Bergman and his team have exclusively handled personal injury matters.

“We represent people seriously injured in accidents, very often, automobile accidents,” said Bergman of the firm that was founded in 1957.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but there are some people who let their insurance lapse and operate vehicles that do not have automobile insurance. According to Bergman, New York State mandates that every motor vehicle registered in the state must have, at the very least, the minimum required vehicular insurance. He noted that all too often, people rush to purchase car insurance and don’t really look at the fine print.

“No one ever expects to have an accident when they’re purchasing their insurance policy,” said Bergman. “People often say ‘I want to make sure I protect my assets.’ But what does that really mean?”

And having insurance is just one of the many items that should be on your pre-winter car checklist.

Here are some tips to make sure you are safe throughout the winter.

Don’t Rush

Go slow and steady. If you have to be somewhere at a specific time, plan ahead. It will take time to clean your car off and the traffic will likely be abysmal. Assume it will take double the time to get to your destination.

Stay In Your Lane

Too many drivers forget how to drive in bad weather. It’s OK. It’s nerve wracking to drive in the snow, especially if you have a child in the car. But you need to be smart. As hard as it might be to see the highway dividers, do your best to stay in the lane you’re committed to. If you’re over the broken white lines, it endangers not only yourself, but the vehicles around you.

Clean Your Roof

New York State law requires drivers to not only clean the snow off their cars, but the roof specifically. You can actually receive a fine if you drive with snow on your roof. The idea is that the snow from your roof can fly onto someone else’s car. You don’t want to be pulled over because of snow on your car.

Replace Windshield Wipers

If your wipers are making a squeaking noise, it’s time for new ones. Vision in the snow or rain is brutal and worn wipers could mean impaired sight.

Clear The Pipes

The exhaust pipe is one of the most vital parts of an automobile. If it is clogged with snow, there is a major risk of breathing in carbon monoxide gas. That means do not, under any circumstances, let your child sit in the car while you are cleaning the snow off it. The gas is a silent killer and can become deadly in a few quick moments.

Check Your Brakes

Everyone needs to have their brakes checked prior to the winter. If your brakes are soft, stopping short will be difficult and dangerous, especially on icy roads. But try not to stop short as well. Your car cannot maneuver as easily in icy conditions, which means you need to ease onto the brakes and not tailgate.

Tire Checks

Get your tires checked by a trusty mechanic. The last thing you need is to be driving on the road with tires that are not capable of plowing through Long Island’s ice-filled roads. Always have at least one spare tire in your vehicle in case you need to have it changed in the middle of nowhere.

Conserve Fuel

Don’t run on a tank that might empty, especially if you’re going on a long drive. If you need to save fuel, shut the heat off in your car.

Joseph Wolkin
Joseph Wolkin is the former editor of the Levittown Tribune, Syosset-Jericho Tribune and Anton Media Group's automotive special section and county news section. A graduate of Stony Brook University, Joseph has been published in dozens of publications. He is the author of Grandma: The Story Of A Boy And His Grandma.

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