road sign warning of winter weather conditions in Wilmington, NC

Wintertime offers some unique challenges for drivers, even for those living in warmer climates who may not experience the drastic plunge in temperatures and the sometimes brutal snowstorms that their northern counterparts routinely observe.

Although the average annual snowfall amount in Wilmington is less than two inches, the colder temperatures can still adversely affect other types of precipitation, and a driver’s vehicle may operate differently than it does during the summer. Continue reading as we outline several useful winter driving tips on how Wilmington drivers and their families can stay safe and comfortable during the winter driving season.

Wilmington, NC, winter driving tips infographic

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Before You Go

During the winter, it’s important to stay updated on current weather conditions, especially if one is planning a lengthy trip. Even before heading out the door to begin driving, it’s a good idea to make it a habit to wake up early, giving yourself some extra time on the road in case driving conditions become challenging.

It’s also important to have a clear line of sight in all windows in order to be able to see other drivers on the road, so drivers should start their vehicle early enough to let it warm up, which will also allow any frost buildup to melt. If by chance there is any snowfall, drivers should remove all excess snow from their vehicle’s windows, as well as both rear tail lights, front headlights, and blinker areas so other drivers can clearly observe when your vehicle is braking or making a turn.

In Your Car

Sometimes even weather professionals can’t accurately predict the weather, so it’s important for drivers to be prepared in advance for the unexpected. Keeping an ice scraper in the vehicle at all times, allows you to be able to clear your windows and lights in the event you experience unexpected frost or ice when away from home.

It’s also a good idea to keep a blanket and an extra pair of gloves somewhere in the vehicle. Driving with a cold steering wheel is bad enough, but when you’re hunched over, trying to conserve body heat in a cold vehicle, you aren’t focused on the road or driving safely. Keeping a blanket and gloves in the car can keep you warm and safe. Lastly, it’s a good idea for drivers to make a point to keep their cell phone fully charged, in case they get stuck in freezing temperatures and need to call for emergency help.

Under the Hood

A good time to take a vehicle in for a service check is before the winter driving season even starts. The colder temperatures of winter put additional stress on critical vehicle components such as the battery, hoses, and windshield wipers, often leading them to break down just when a driver needs them the most.

A thorough service appointment will include inspection of the windshield wipers, tire wear and pressure, battery function, both front and rear light operation, and brake function. It’s also important not to neglect routine oil changes in the winter, as dirty oil makes it more difficult for a vehicle to operate under challenging wintertime conditions like fluctuating temperatures. Lastly, drivers should try to keep their gas tanks at least half full during the winter months in case they become stranded and need their vehicle to operate in order to stay warm.

On the Road

During the winter, it’s especially important to practice good road safety rules in order to prevent becoming involved in a car accident. When roads are slippery, drivers should decrease their speed, increase the distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them, and use their blinkers when they change lanes so the drivers around them know what is going to happen in advance. Good road safety also means braking well in advance before actually making a turn, so that any drivers following will have plenty of time to prepare for a slowdown.

Some additional tips include regularly observing both tire pressure and wear throughout the winter months in order to ensure proper tire safety, not using windshield wipers to remove frost as doing so can increase the likelihood a wiper will tear, and not turning on the air conditioning unless necessary in order to preserve gas that may be needed for an adverse winter event.

Speaks Law Firm is Here to Help

Although most drivers do try to drive responsibly, there are occasions where a combination of adverse weather conditions and a distracted driver can lead to a car accident. If you have experienced a vehicle accident caused by a reckless driver, we can help. At Speaks Law Firm, you can meet with one of our highly-qualified car accident attorneys who will evaluate your specific case.

We strongly believe that everyone has a basic right to seek legal justice when through no fault of their own, they become involved in a potentially debilitating vehicle accident. This is why we do not charge any fees unless we win a case for you.

If you have recently been involved in a vehicle accident with a reckless driver, please contact us today for a free case review to learn how we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.