It's only December, but Maryland has already had a number of icy mornings. Freezing rain covers both the sidewalks and the streets. Knowing how to deal with ice and freezing rain can make the difference between life and death – literally. Below are a few common-sense tips for you and your family to consider before driving in ice.
Avoid Driving If You Can
This may seem obvious, but when there is freezing rain on the roads, most experts advise against driving at all. It's that simple. In this day and age, teleworking is a common thing. Most, but admittedly not all jobs have at least some elements that can be performed at home, including doing research or responding to email. Particularly on the east coast where snow and ice commonly melt before noon, staying home or delaying your commute is often the safest bet.
Slow Down – No Matter What You are Driving
Inevitably, there is always one driver who is barreling down the icy freeway in excess of the speed limit, even when conditions are icy. Often, this person is driving a large SUV or truck. However, four-wheel drive hardly makes a difference when the roads are icy. It is the friction of the tire against the pavement that keeps the vehicle where it belongs. When there is a sheet of ice between the two, all bets are off. Slowing down reduces your chances of losing control, and if you do lose control, driving at a slower rate of speed decreases the potential damage should you hit a guard rail, go into a ditch, or hit another car.
Make Sure You Allow for Extra Time and Distance
In addition to driving more slowly, you will want to give yourself extra time to change lanes or come to a stop. While you may begin braking just a quarter block before the stop sign in regular conditions, when you are driving in freezing rain or icy conditions, you may want to start braking a half a block away or more. There is no downside to finding yourself at a complete stop before the intersection. Contrast this scenario with the alternative – not stopping in time and slipping into the intersection and cross traffic.
At Gilman and Bedigian, LLC, we want you to stay safe. Understanding winter driving precautions can help you make the best choices for you and your family. Unfortunately, not everyone will listen or heed this advice for safe driving in ice and rain. If you or a loved one has been injured during dangerous driving conditions, we can help. Contact us at 800-529-6162 to schedule a free consultation to talk about the facts and circumstances of your case.