How to Prepare Your Car For Winter

If the winter season is upon you, there are some tips and preventative measures that you will want to keep in mind to keep you and your loved ones safe. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), one in every four crashes on U.S. roads each year is weather-related. This should encourage you to take it easy on roads that are covered in ice, sleet, and snow.

New Jersey Laws
New Jersey has some laws in place for the winter season to keep motorists safe. The most important thing to remember in the winter months is that you should always remove ice and snow before you drive! It is a law in New Jersey to remove all ice and snow from the hood, windows, and roof, or else you could face a fine of $25 to $75 for each offense, regardless of whether or not the ice and snow has been dislodged from the vehicle. The price may be more to pay if flying ice or snow causes property damage to injury or others. A motorist could face a fine of $200 to $1,000 for each offense. Each year, there are approximately 500 fatalities in the U.S. due to icy road conditions, so it is in your best interest to remember this rule and stay safe.

How Should I Pack My Car For Winter?
If you have to venture out onto the icy roads and brutal cold, then there are some things you should keep in mind as far as packing goes. Being involved in a winter accident could leave you stranded on the side of the road, and you don’t want to be left with nothing if you must wait for help. Packing your car with essentials will benefit you in the long run. Follow these measures:

  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full through the winter season. This reduces condensation, which makes your vehicle a lot easier to start on a cold winter morning.
  • Always have a charged cell phone with you if you own one.
  • Store a snow/ice scraper and shovel in your vehicle during this season, as well as having a first-aid kit ready if needed.
  • If you own a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you should keep a small bag of sand in your trunk. The sand is to create traction under your tires if you were to get stuck.
  • Clear off your vehicle for maximum visibility.

How to Prevent Accidents From Happening
Snowstorm whiteouts, “black ice”, and other winter weather incidents can make things difficult on a motorist in a dangerous way. If you just so happen to experience an accident, remain calm and keep the following steps in mind:

  • Attempt to get to the right side of the road and away from traffic as much as possible.
  • Remain in your vehicle with your seatbelt on, as well as hazard lights. This makes you visible to others. A flare may help as well if you have one.
  • Straighten your wheels if you are stuck in snow. Begin to accelerate slowly, but avoid spinning the tires and digging yourself in deeper. Rock the vehicle back and forth to get unstuck.
  • Run the engine only a few minutes at a time to stay warm.

Agencies like AAA and FEMA both recommend that you stay off the roads if the weather is too ugly in your specific area – however, sometimes this cannot be avoided. You should always have your vehicle ready for anything. However, if an accident just so happens to occur, you could seek the guidance of an attorney. If you believe you have an injury claim after an accident, MDL is willing to stand by your side and help you get the compensation you deserve.