Driving in winter weather conditions is more dangerous and motorists need to be sure they are prepared for the upcoming snow. According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 25 percent of weather-related car accidents occurred on slushy, snowy or icy pavement, leading to 116,800 injuries and 1,300 deaths each year.
With the winter weather on the horizon, AAA is encouraging drivers to remember specific winter driving techniques to keep them safe in the adverse weather conditions. Owners also might want to equip their car's interior with Husky Liners® car floor mats to keep them looking clean in the harsh conditions.
First, AAA says to make sure a car is winterized and ready for the ice and snow. It is important to have all fluids topped off before the winter, so a motorist is less likely to get stranded in the cold. It is also important to have tires inspected to make sure the proper tread depth is in place, ensuring a car won't go sliding off the road.
AAA also encourages Americans to drive distraction free, especially in the winter. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of being in a crash.
It is also important drivers do not use their cruise control and avoid tailgating other cars. Cruise control should be avoided, as stopping distances are longer on wet and icy roads. If a driver is not using cruise control, once they take their foot off the accelerator, the car has already begun to slow down.
When deciding between braking and steering to avoid a crash, AAA says that if the car is traveling at more than 25 miles per hour it is best to steer, rather than brake, to avoid a collision in winter conditions. Stopping distance is longer in these conditions and it usually takes less distance to steer than to brake to a stop.
If a driver does find themselves in a skid, they can maintain control by continuing to steer in the direction the car needs to go and to not slam on the brakes as this will make the vehicle harder to control.
Motorists are also encouraged to take extra precautions in safeguarding their cars during the holidays. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, for the 11 holidays reviewed in 2011, 20,800 vehicles were reported stolen compared to 22,991 stolen cars a year before. While the numbers are increasing, auto owners are encouraged to not let their guards down since it's a holiday season, as thieves do not take the holidays off.