Over the past couple of weeks, Missouri had its first real taste of winter weather this season, which created hazardous driving conditions throughout the state - and the forecast is calling for more snow and ice statewide this weekend. Because serious traffic accidents are more likely to happen in these dangerous driving conditions, safety officials at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) are urging motorists to check travel conditions before hitting the road - you can do so by checking out MoDOT's Traveler Info Map, by downloading their app, or by calling 1-888-ASK-MODOT. Of course, if possible, it's best to avoid travel altogether during winter weather. If you have to drive in wintry conditions, however, our Cape Girardeau car accident lawyers encourage you to take precautions.
An important first step is to ready your vehicle for snowy and icy roadways before the weather even arrives. Make sure your car has a good battery, fresh antifreeze, a properly working exhaust system and motor oil that can stand up to the cold weather. Officials also recommend that you check your tires to make sure that they're in good condition, that you have enough windshield wiper fluid, and that your windshield wipers are in good condition. With the proper safety precautions, we'll all have a better chance of avoiding car accidents that occur due to weather conditions.
Again, it's best to avoid driving until the roads are plowed, safe and passable. If you absolutely must drive in dangerous conditions, here are a few reminders that can help you get to your destination safely:
Best practices: Winter driving tips
- Obey all speed limits. They're there to keep motorists safe.
- Use common sense behind the wheel. Adjust your driving habits to current road and weather conditions.
- Never pass a snowplow, and allow these vehicles plenty of room to operate safely.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Be extra careful when driving when the temperature is near 32 degrees. That's when it's the most dangerous to be out on the road, especially on bridges and overpasses, which are the first to freeze.
- Keep an eye out for disabled vehicles.
- Be sure to keep your lights, windows and mirrors clean during winter conditions.
- Never attempt to pass another vehicle when you're on or near a bridge.
- Always keep your gas tank at least half full.
- Always drive with your lights on.
- If you're uncomfortable driving in the weather conditions, pull over, park in a safe place, and wait for weather and roadway conditions to improve.
- Leave early and allow yourself extra time to get to your destination. Remember, it's better to arrive late - and safe - than not at all.