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Posted in Car Accidents on November 15, 2019
Louisiana is a state that is known for its warm weather. In fact, we are the third most temperate climate in America! However, winter can deal us a few cold snaps that we soon wish to forget.
New Orleans can get up to 10 days of freezing temperatures during the winter months. While that may not sound like much to the typical northerner, sub-freezing temps create significant issues for Louisiana drivers when coupled with heavy precipitation received.
Freezing Temps, Ice and Inexperience Create Poor Conditions
The result is ice build-up on public roadways, which can make it seem like every motorist is driving on a prayer. Simply put, we aren’t used to driving on freezing conditions during wintertime.
The excellent news is that you can teach yourself how to be a better winter driver, while still acting with courtesy and care, by committing a few simple tips to memory and consciously putting them into practice if you do find yourself ‘white-knuckling it’ across town.
With that in mind, The Law Office of John W. Reddman, LLC, is dedicating our latest blog post to winter driver safety tips in Louisiana. And if you do sustain injuries in a collision, you can contact a New Orleans car accident lawyer at our office for specific legal advice related to your situation. Request a free consultation by calling (504) 500-5000 or send us a contact request via our online form.
And finally, here are our top five winter driving tips for Louisiana motorists:
1. Always Wear Your Seatbelt
Everyone knows they should be wearing their seatbelts, but we can’t stress their efficacy enough. You can reduce your risk of severe injury or death by 50 percent if you wear one regularly.
And don’t forget, Louisiana legally requires the driver and all passengers of a Class E vehicle to wear a properly-functioning seat belt at all times. Make sure you are complying with Louisiana seat belt laws. They are there for your safety.
2. Practice Driving in an Empty Lot to Get a Feel for the Conditions
Driving around in an empty parking lot is an old trick that drivers in snowy climates use to gain confidence in slippery conditions. Make sure you check with the proprietor of the parking lot before using it as your personal driving course. And make sure it’s in an empty parking lot.
Start slowly, practice your typical driving technique, and adjust it as necessary. Try giving your brakes a few hard taps to gain a feel for sliding around. You will feel more at ease on the roadway after this exercise.
3. Learn How to ‘Coast’ Uphill
Fortunately, New Orleans is very flat. However, there are a few roads that carry an up or downhill gradient, and they can cause your vehicle to stop suddenly if you don’t coast over them properly.
Instead of braking instinctively as you crest the top of the hill, you must resist the urge and allow your vehicle to carry itself uphill using momentum. If you tap your breaks during this maneuver, it’s likely your car will slide as anticipated.
4. Try to Keep Two Tires on Dry Pavement
Sometimes ice build-up can remain in the middle of the road while the sides and lines are bone dry. If you want to guarantee traction when driving over ice, then you must allow both tires on one side of your vehicle to stay in contact with dry pavement.
It gives your brakes something to ‘catch’ on to in case you start sliding. It may feel a little starting at first when you feel it grab the pavement, but at least you will be able to predictably slow your vehicle down.
5. Understand Your Vehicle’s Braking Mechanism
While newer vehicles come standard with an anti-lock brake system (ABS), older cars do not. And what’s even more confusing is that both require different techniques when driving over snow and ice. Check with your vehicle’s manufacturer to find out which breaking mechanism you have.
There are plenty of drivers who have been unable to stop even with ABS-style brakes in winter conditions. If you feel your vehicle’s braking system ‘stutter’ without signs of stopping, you can release your foot from the brake pedal for a moment, and then depress it slowly again.
This gives your brakes less jerky friction and can actually function as it is supposed to. It’s unnecessary to repeatedly tap your breaks as seen in standard braking vehicles.
Final Thoughts and Considerations on Winter Driving Safety Tips in Louisiana
We hope you learned a lot about operating your vehicle safely during the next snowy or icy day in New Orleans from this post. Patience, practice, and self-awareness are going to directly increase the safety of you and your family when forced to drive through less-than-desirable conditions.
And if all else fails, drive only as fast as you feel comfortable while maintaining the minimum required speed limit for the zoning area through which you are driving. You won’t be the only person out there feeling alarmed and afraid.
Alternatives to Driving on the Road
And if you still feel nervous about getting behind the wheel, it’s better to take public transportation or rideshare to work than it is to put your life and the lives of others at risk. Precipitation doesn’t linger for long, so you may have to wait a few hours before leaving the house. But we are sure you’ll agree it’s better to be late, then to never arrive at all.
Contact The Law Office of John W. Reddman, LLC If You Get Into a Car Accident
Taking proper safety precautions does not make you immune to the careless or negligent driving of another motorist. If you sustain injuries, contact a New Orleans car accident lawyer at The Law Office of John W. Reddman, LLC to discuss your options. You can reach our team for a free consultation by calling (504) 500-5000 or sending us a request via our online contact form. Se Habla Español.