Slip Risk

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Freshly Wet Roads

3 Second Stop
As you may already know, wet roads require extra care when driving. However, were you aware that many roads are the most slippery when it first starts to rain, particularly if it hasn’t rained in a long time? When rain first begins to fall, the accumulated oil on the road will be loosened and mixed with the water, making it even slicker than after it has been raining for a while.

What’s the Speed Limit?

Basic Speed Law

Driving is fast paced. There is a lot going on around your vehicle that needs to be taken into account. That’s why speed limits are important. They tell us a safe speed to travel at in a given area. However, sometimes even the posted speed limit is not safe. This is where the Basic Speed Law comes into effect. The Basic Speed Law tells us to not drive faster than is reasonable and prudent under the current conditions. That means you need to take into account everything going on in your driving environment and decide what the safest speed is. Otherwise, you could find yourself with a ticket.

When determining what a safe speed should be, some things to consider are:

  • How’s the weather? Is it a clear day? Is it raining?
  • What time of day is it? Is it daytime or nighttime?
  • How’s the flow of traffic? Is there traffic congestion?
  • Are there pedestrians? Is there a lot of foot traffic or children playing nearby?
  • Are you sharing the road? Is there a bicyclist on the road?
  • What’s the road like? Is the road wet or dry? Narrow or wide?

If You Must …

Inclement Winter Weather Driving

Dirt covered SUV on a muddy road

Increased risk for accidents is a given during inclement weather conditions.  That’s why the best advice when dealing with snow is to avoid driving altogether.  If you must drive in the snow, extra safety precautions are necessary.

If you live in an area that gets snowy weather, you should always carry chains in your vehicle and put them on your tires prior to driving in snow.  Also steer clear of the shoulder of the road.  Snow can build up the most here, and the shoulder is for emergency situations.

Heavy snow can make it difficult to see lane markings, so try to position your vehicle to stay in line with the tracks of other vehicles ahead of you.  Speed must be decreased and following distance should be doubled to at least eight to ten seconds.  Accelerate and brake very slowly.  Turn on your low beam headlights to make yourself more visible to other drivers.

If you are having difficulty with visibility, such as during a white out, pull into a safe parking area if possible.  Do NOT stop on the traveled portion of the road.

It’s true, blustery winter weather can be stressful.  To best cope, be prepared ahead of time, and stay alert, calm, and patient.

Winterize Your Vehicle

Are You Ready?

snowy road

We want to make sure you’re well-prepared for changing weather conditions as winter rapidly approaches.  There are several simple things you can do to help make sure you and your vehicle stay safe!

The LAST thing you want is to get stranded out in a storm because your car battery died.  Extremely cold temperatures can reduce your car battery’s life up to 50 percent, so checking your battery is crucial! To test your battery, take it to a mechanic where professional equipment can detect if your battery is running low on life.

Getting an oil change with proper oil is another great way to help winterize your car.  For colder conditions, a thinner, less viscous oil is desirable because the oil tends to thicken the colder it gets outside.  If it’s too thick, it won’t be able to do a good job keeping your engine lubricated.  Check your owner’s manual to find out which oil is best for your vehicle.

During the unpredictable conditions of winter weather, visibility is a must.  First, make sure your wiper blades are up to par.  They generally are good for about one year, so if you’ve had them longer than that, now is the time to switch them out!  Another step to optimize your visibility during stormy weather is to have your windshield washer reservoir well-filled with windshield wiper fluid.  Don’t substitute it for water, because water can freeze.  Don’t forget to test your heater and defroster to see that they’re working properly.

Tires are a huge consideration when it comes to this time of year.  Check your tire pressure weekly.  Properly inflated tires will provide better traction and control in icy, wet and snowy conditions.  Make sure your spare tire also has proper pressure and that your jack is in good working condition.  Consider using snow tires, especially if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow.  They will perform much better than all-weather tires.  Poorly aligned wheels are also a risk-factor, so have your tires rotated regularly as recommended.

Last but not least, keep an emergency kit in your car.  Pack some essentials like a flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit in your trunk, along with extra gloves, boots, warm blankets, a small shovel and non-clumping kitty litter or sand for when you need added traction.  It’s not a bad idea to have extra batteries and a few energy bars or snacks on hand too.  Other items in your emergency kit could include extra antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, paper towels, jumper cables, and tire chains.

By taking time to plan ahead, winterizing your car can be easy, and should be a priority to keep you and your family safe and your vehicle operating properly.