Tips to Stay Safe Behind the Wheel This Winter in Anchorage

The first official snowfall arrived in Alaska on October 16, 2019, so now is a good time to remind motorists about safety tips for driving in winter weather. When it comes to the increase of motor vehicle collisions during the colder months, the US Department of Transportation reports that decreased friction on road surfaces, visibility issues, and challenges with vehicle maneuverability present critical risks. These and other factors, many of which will be present for the next few months, can lead to serious car accidents in Anchorage.

As such, you should review and employ a few winter driving safety tips to reduce the potential for an injury-causing or fatal auto crash.


Vehicle Maintenance in Winter

 One key recommendation for protecting yourself and passengers starts even before you sit in the driver’s seat. A well-maintained vehicle is a safe vehicle, so be prepared by checking a few items off your To-Do list:

  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Some manufacturers recommend increasing the pressure around 3-5 PSI higher than for warm weather.
  • Avoid combining different types of tires on your vehicle. Tires are designed for specific performance features, such as how well they respond to steering, braking, and road conditions. Installing a variety of grades means your tires react differently, potentially leading to loss of control.
  • Always maintain at least a half tank of gas in your car to prevent freeze-ups and stalling.
  • Inspect other essential fluids in your vehicle, including levels for your radiator, transmission, power steering, brakes, and others.


Driving in Snow and Sleet

 Generally speaking, you should drive at a slower rate of speed in slippery conditions – regardless of what is posted on speed limit signs. It is important to increase the amount of time you normally would take to bring your vehicle to a stop; a good rule of thumb is to double the timing, such as from 4-6 seconds to 8-10. Plus:

  • Avoid using cruise control when driving in snow and sleet.
  • Accelerate and decelerate gradually whenever possible, as your tires will maintain better traction with the surface of the road.
  • Use caution when driving up steep grades, and make sure to keep your speed consistent. If you begin to decelerate, you could slide backward due to the effects of gravity.
  • Avoid the urge to slam on your brakes, unless you must do so to avoid an accident. You could lose control and have difficulty regaining it when your brakes seize up – even on vehicles with anti-lock brakes.


Ask an Alaska Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney About Your Rights as a Victim

Despite strict adherence to these safety tips, there is little you can do to completely prevent auto collisions in winter. However, you do have rights if you were hurt in such a crash. Our team at Power & Power Law can assist with seeking compensation for your losses, so contact our Anchorage office to set up a no-cost case evaluation regarding your rights. We are happy to explain your legal options after we review your specific circumstances.