Now that we are well into one of the coldest and snowiest winters in the last few years, let’s revisit the issue of safe winter driving. Remember to remove all ice and snow from your vehicle before driving, especially from the hood, windows, and roof. It’s the law in New Jersey! Motorists who fail to do so face fines of $25 to $75 for each offense, regardless of whether the ice and snow is dislodged from the vehicle. If flying ice or snow causes property damage or injury to others, motorists face fines of $200 to $1,000 for each offense. Flying snow or ice can injure and even kill someone, and if that happens you could be sued and your finances could be in serious jeopardy. So be safe and always be sure to remove all ice and snow from your vehicle before driving.

Here are some other winter driving tips to help keep you and others safe:

  • Drive slow (at or below the posted speed limit) and adjust your speed for the changing road conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights, using low beams when traveling in snow.
  • Increase your following distance. In winter weather, travel at least eight to 10 seconds behind the car in front of you.
  • Give snowplows plenty of room to work.  Don’t tailgate and try not to pass.  If you must pass, take extreme caution in doing so.  Remember, a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see him, but they don’t always see you.
  • If you skid, don’t brake or accelerate. Remove your foot from the gas, and gently steer your car in the direction of the skid (the direction the rear of your vehicle is sliding.) When your car starts heading in the desired direction, carefully straighten the wheel.
  • Slow down before exiting the highway. Exit ramps often have icy patches, sharp curves and stalled or stopped vehicles.
  • Have a personal safety kit easily accessible in your vehicle that includes: an ice scraper/brush; shovel; jumper cables or battery starter; blanket; sand, salt or kitty litter for traction; lock de-icer; flashlight and new batteries; extra windshield wiper fluid; safety flares/warning device; cell phone with spare battery; water and non-perishable food (i.e., granola or protein bars); and paper towels or a cloth.
  • If your vehicle does become disabled, pull off the road as far as possible and turn on your emergency flashers.  Remain with your vehicle until help arrives.  If you can’t get your vehicle off the road and are uncertain about your safety, do not stay in your vehicle or stand behind it. Proceed carefully to a safe location away from traffic.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident caused by someone who wasn’t paying attention, call me as soon as possible.  Stark & Stark is dedicated to helping injured people.  Let us make sure that your rights are represented.  The insurance companies have people working hard on their side, and so should you.