The importance of preparing your vehicle for winter

People should prepare their vehicles for winter, as bad weather conditions increases the risk of serious auto accidents.

As the fall temperatures continue to cool down, many Ohio residents are getting ready for a quickly approaching winter. During this time, inclement weather conditions and traffic consisting of holiday shoppers can make it difficult to traverse the roadways, and can increase the risk of serious auto accidents. While people are getting their homes prepared for the cold months ahead, they should also consider making sure their vehicles are winter-ready as well.

The impact of bad weather

According to the Federal Highway Administration, weather conditions can impact motorists in many ways. For example, high winds not only limit driver visibility, they can obstruct the road if debris is blown onto the road. In addition to reducing visibility, rain, snow and sleet can cause icy road surfaces. Snow may also obstruct lanes if the roads have not been cleared. This can increase traffic and the risk of being involved in a devastating car accident. Bad weather also affects a vehicle's ability to brake. People should travel at slower speeds to avoid sliding and/or rear-ending another vehicle.

Preparing vehicles for winter

One way motorists can limit their risk of becoming involved in an auto collision is by preparing their vehicle for winter weather. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that car owners have their vehicle checked before hitting the open snowy roads. This includes the following:

  • Brakes, brake pads and brake fluid
  • Interior and exterior lights
  • Windshield wipers and defrosters
  • Coolant, oil and windshield wiper fluid

Drivers should also make sure that their car battery is fully charged and that the belts are in good working order. It is especially important to make sure the vehicle's tires have good tread and are filled with the proper tire pressure. Cold temperatures can cause the tire pressure to drop, and so motorists often need to add pressure to the tires. Tires that are not inflated correctly can make it difficult to steer. Furthermore, bald tires reduce the vehicle's traction, or ability to grip the road. This can lead to hydroplaning, skidding and sliding on ice, rain or snow. Some people use snow tires during the winter, which increases traction and weight on the road.

Dealing with the aftermath

People who get their vehicles ready for winter and travel at safe speeds can prevent many of the weather-related car accidents that occur in Ohio each year. If you have been involved in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, you could be left with property damage and may even have injuries due to the collision. A personal injury attorney may help to answer any questions you have regarding the accident, receiving compensation and getting back on track.