Winter Weather Driving

This February weather has been one for the record books in Alabama.  We have seen our fair share of snow, ice, sleet, and frigid cold temperatures.  Here are some basic driving tips for driving on these winter conditions:

 1.      GO SLOW! – You cannot pretend that you are driving in normal conditions.  Take your time and be cautious. Don’t make unnecessary lane changes or quick acceleration or braking maneuvers.  It will take you much longer to get somewhere if you crash than if you try and shave a few seconds off your daily commute.

2.      EASY ON THE BRAKES – Brake application is a common trigger of vehicle sliding which results in you losing control of your car.  ABS do not work well on ice and snow, and often will lock up your wheels.  Sliding wheels make it nearly impossible to control your vehicle.

3.      TURN INTO A SLIDE – If you find your car sliding, you need to turn your wheels in the direction that the REAR of the car is sliding.  By turning into the slide, you stand the best chance of recovering control of your vehicle.  (If you saw the Pixar movie Cars, it’s the same concept Lightning McQueen had to learn when racing on the dirt roads).

4.      DON’T BE OVERCONFIDENT – A major factor in many serious and fatal crashes is one’s overconfidence in their abilities to drive in adverse conditions.  Just because the speed limit is 50 doesn’t mean you should go 50 in less than ideal conditions.  Similarly, just because you have driven in bad weather conditions before does not mean that the snow and ice is any less slippery for you than a new driver.  Recognize that you are driving in dangerous conditions and don’t get cocky.

Modifying Your Driving to Prevent Accidents – 3 Drive with both hands on the wheel!

3. Drive with both hands on the wheel. Two hands on the wheel allows you more control over the car if an emergency situation were to arise. Imagine having one hand leisurely resting on it when you have to swerve out of the way – you lose that precious split second in adjusting your position that could mean the difference between safety and an accident.

Keep your hands in the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. While this isn’t necessarily the most comfortable, this position does allow you the most flexibility should you suddenly need to adjust your course.

Modifying Your Driving to prevent accidents – 2 Stay in your lane!

Stay in your lane. Defensive driving means letting others go ahead of you and not defending your position in traffic. Avoid the urge to be a vigilante (“Oh yeah? Let me show you what it’s like to be cut off like that!”) and stay away from weaving and cutting others off by sticking to your lane. Accept the fact that someone is always going to think they’re in more of a hurry than you. These are the drivers you want to move far away from. Don’t be tempted to “teach them a lesson” – it won’t work.

In general, avoid the left lane. It’s where most accidents happen.  You also have more “escape routes” in the right lane should a problem suddenly arise that requires you to quickly change lanes or pull onto the shoulder.

Modifying Your Driving to prevent accidents – 1 Slow Down!

1. Slow down. Speeding reduces the time you have to react and increases the likelihood of you having an accident. The faster you’re going, the harder it is to slow down. When you can’t slow down, you risk causing an accident.
Remember that police officers often stay hidden from view while looking for speeders. If you’re caught driving too fast, they won’t hesitate to give you a ticket. While this isn’t an accident, it’s certainly another thing you want to avoid.

3 Ways to Modify Your Driving to Prevent Accidents

The following are 3 ways you can make slight changes to your driving that will greatly reduce your chances of having a car accident.

1. Slow Down
2. Stay in your lane
3. Keep both hands on the wheel

These might seem obvious but subsequent posts will elaborate on each one and its importance.

Florida Lawsuit Challenges Traffic Camera Company

A recently-filed class action lawsuit alleges that a traffic camera company was given too much authority to issue traffic violations caught on their cameras in Orange Park and Green Cove Springs, Florida. The lawsuit was filed by two Florida drivers who were ticketed due to the cameras used by American Traffic Solutions Inc., one of the largest traffic camera operators in the country. According to the filing, the duty of ticketing drivers should be in the hands of law enforcement, not a contract company. The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of anyone ticketed by the company dating back to July 2010.