Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law
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Driving safety on wintry roads in Virginia

As much as people often don't want to think about cold weather and snow, both of those are realities in Virginia. If you are planning on heading out on the roads during the winter months, you need to make sure that you are fully prepared for the journey. It doesn't matter if you are running around the corner to the store or taking a longer trip.

Your safety begins before you leave home. Here are some ways that you can prepare for winter travels:

Check your vehicle

Make sure that your car has good brakes and enough tread on the tires. Worn brakes won't be able to stop properly. The deeper the tread on your tires, the more likely they are to grip wintry roads. Check your windshield wipers to make sure they can swipe away snow, sleet or rain. Make sure you have all fluids topped off. When you fill the windshield wiper fluid, choose one that has deicing properties so that you can get the glass clear for driving. Have someone help you to check the lights. In heavy snow or sleet, your lights can warn other drivers that you are on the roadway.

Prepare for being stranded

Even though you might not want to think about being stranded in the cold, this is possible. You might skid off the road, get stuck in a traffic jam, or get into an accident. You need to prepare for these possibilities, even if you aren't going to leave town. Get an emergency kit together. At a minimum, this needs to include warm clothing or blankets, a flashlight, a shovel, kitty litter or sand, an ice scraper, jumper cables, bottled water and a first aid kit. If you are traveling long distances, you need to add in some nonperishable foods and medications.

Drive safely

Remember to drive a bit slower when the roads are icy or snowy. You will need more time to stop in these conditions. It is possible that you might skid, which means that you need to steer into the skid. Be watchful for other drivers because they might be driving in ways that can lead to accidents. Turn your lights on if it is snowing, sleeting, raining or getting dark.

If you are in an accident or stranded, make sure that you clear the tailpipe of your vehicle before you turn the heater on to stay warm. Try to get medical care quickly if you are injured. Seeking compensation if you are injured by another driver is also possible.

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