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Safety tips to avoid accidents in bad weather

Winter weather is great for skiers and snowboarders who want fresh powder on the slopes. However, rain and snow can be dangerous for drivers on the road.

While bad weather is inevitable in the winter, accidents are preventable. No one wants to deal with the injuries or expenses that come with an accident.

Here are some tips to help avoid accidents caused by inclement weather.

Check your car

At the beginning of each season, it's smart to get a complete tuneup on your car. This includes checking the heating and air conditioning system, fuel and emission filters, battery, antifreeze, tires and windshield wipers. You may also want to stock up your trunk with a few emergency essentials, such as a shovel, tire chains, a bag of salt, a toolkit, an ice scraper, blankets, water and snacks.

Turn on your lights

Bad weather decreases visibility on the roads. As such, it's essential to be seen on the road by other drivers. It's important to set your lights to "auto," or make sure you manually turn them on in the early morning and early evening. Also, if it's raining or snowing outside, make it a habit to turn your lights on as the "auto" function may not activate. If other cars can see you, they are less likely to crash into you.

Wear your seat belt

It may seem like common knowledge, but wearing your seat belt is one of the best ways to protect yourself in the event of a car accident. In fact, wearing a seat belt reduces your risk of death by 45 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wearing a seat belt is an easy way to help avoid accidents and injury in bad weather.

Use your indicators

When driving in bad weather (or any condition, really) it's important to use your turn signals. Turn signals let other cars know your intended actions on the road. Cars cannot slow down as quickly in bad weather because the roads are icy and slick. If a driver quickly changes lanes without signaling, other drivers are forced to slam on the brakes, potentially causing accidents. These accidents can easily be avoided if all drivers are diligent about using their turning signals.

Drive slow

Rain and snow can make driving on the roads extremely hazardous. When driving in bad weather, remember to drive slower than normal. It's smart to reduce your speed when it's raining or snowing. As a general rule, stay about 3 seconds behind another car so you have plenty of time to stop. If you have to stop abruptly, do not slam on the brakes. Slowly pump your brakes so you don't spin out. If you start to slide, turn into the slide and do not overcorrect your turn.

Avoid cruise control

Cruise control has its perks. It can save gas and help drivers maintain a safe, controlled speed. However, cruise control can be dangerous when engaged during inclement weather like rain and snow. When it rains heavily, water pools on the road. If your tires can't squeeze the water through the tire tread, your car will begin sliding on the water itself. This is a scary situation often referred to as "hydroplaning." Slamming on the brakes is the most dangerous thing you can do when you start to hydroplane. But to disengage cruise control, you need to push on the brakes, which makes relying on it a dangerous habit.

It may seem obvious, but always avoid cruise control during bad weather. Manually driving the car will you give you more control and increase your chances of staying safe when driving in bad weather.

Don't worry about other drivers

Driving in the rain is dangerous. You may feel pressure from other drivers to speed up, but if you don't feel comfortable about speeding up, don't. Other drivers can pass you if they need to. Rain driving is one of the most dangerous conditions and leads to thousands of deaths every year. When it rains, take your time, remain calm and don't worry about other drivers.

Each year, many lives are lost on the road due to rain and snow. While we can't control the weather, we can control our driving habits and take the necessary precautions to drive safely and slowly during inclement weather. Bad weather makes driving more hazardous. Remember, those who want to drive fast in bad weather can drive in the fast lane. When you see rain or snow on the road, remember these safety tips and stay in the slower lanes to stay as safe as possible.

Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, San Antonio, Texas and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide.

Our attorneys are available to respond to auto accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices- we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

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