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Wisconsin winter driving checklist art of car in snowy conditions

Surviving Wisconsin Winter Driving

Wisconsin’s Winter Awareness Week is an annual campaign sponsored by several state agencies to promote safe driving habits throughout winter.

Every November, Wisconsin officials share new statistics and useful reminders about the dangerous of winter driving. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, for example, reports an average of 50 deaths and more than 4,900 injuries each winter linked to poor driving conditions.

In many instances drivers are unprepared to compensate for icy conditions, which require slower speeds and longer stopping distances. Winter driving accidents can be especially dangerous because they often involve a driver losing control of his or her vehicle on a slick surface.

This year’s Winter Awareness Week is Nov. 6-10. In preparation for the season, the Madison injury attorneys at Boller & Vaughan offer the following tips to help keep you, your family, and your vehicle safe in Wisconsin’s hazardous winter driving conditions.

Driver Safety

◊ ‏Know your route before you drive.

◊ Always wear a seat belt.

◊ Never talk/text while driving. Always keep your eyes on the road.

◊ Don’t use cruise control in winter weather.

◊ Slow down. Speed limits are set for ideal driving conditions not winter weather.

◊ Leave room for snow plows. By law drivers must maintain a 200-foot distance from the rear of the plow.

◊ Review the dangers of winter conditions with young drivers.

Vehicle Safety

◊ Check tires for tread wear. Insert a penny with Abraham Lincoln’s head facing down between the grooves; if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head it’s time to replace the tires.

◊ Check the car battery for proper voltage. If you don’t have a volt meter, many auto parts stores will test your battery for free.

◊ Check the coolant reservoir for sufficient coolant/antifreeze.

◊ Keep gas tank at least half-full to avoid condensation and freezing.

◊ Prepare a winter storm kit for each vehicle. Ensure each kit has the following:

  • Blankets
  • Socks
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Windshield scraper
  • Car battery cables
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Nonperishable snacks
  • Bag of cat litter or sand (for traction)
  • Cell phone adapter

Slow Down, Arrive Safe

One of the best things you can do to avoid disaster this winter is to avoid driving in extreme weather. When you do drive, take note of the road conditions and slow down to ensure you reach your destination safely.

While accidents are a seemingly unavoidable part of Wisconsin winters, the impact and severity of these crashes are substantially minimized if drivers just slow down.

If you’re injured on the road this winter, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Boller & Vaughan are here to help. Call 608-268-0268 to schedule a free consultation or let us know what happened online to get started now.