The best defense against winter driving dangers is to be aware of them before they happen. These are some of the most common hazards encountered on the road during the colder months in Connecticut.
Black ice vs. surface ice
Ice is extremely dangerous on winter roads and is one of the most common hazards. Icy roads can cause you to completely lose control of your car, and you can’t always see it coming. That’s often the case with black ice, which comes in a layer so thin that you may think that the road is merely wet rather than frozen over.
You’re most likely to encounter this type of ice on the road during the nighttime or in the early morning. Black ice usually gives off a matte appearance while surface ice tends to look glossy.
Icy roads can sneak up on you, too. Even though the thermometer might tell you it’s above-freezing temperatures outside, there may still be ice on the ground because the surface doesn’t warm up as quickly as the air. Whenever there’s been snow melt, rain or water on the road for any other reason followed by a drop to below-freezing temperatures, you should be on your guard for icy roads.
Winter traffic safety starts with your own vehicle
Many winter motor vehicle accidents happen simply because the drivers can’t see where they’re going, and it’s not just about how bad the roads are. Sometimes, your own vehicle may be the problem.
If ice and snow have built up on your windows or mirror, make sure you take the time to fully remove the snow and ice from your car. It might be illegal to hit the road without doing so.
It’s also crucial to have a working defroster inside the vehicle. Once condensation builds up on your windows and windshield, it can be just as much of a hazard as anything outside the car.
Before setting out on winter roads, take a look at your tires. The air pressure might have gone down due to the cold.
You should also check your tire treads. If your tires are bald, it’s most dangerous in the winter. Consider getting a set of snow tires or even chains in extreme winter conditions. Just remember that snow tires don’t make you invincible – you still can’t drive like it’s the middle of July.
Make sure your vehicle is serviced, you have tires suited for the conditions and that your headlights are on. When in doubt, slow down. It’s helpful to always anticipate the other driver’s mistake so you’re more likely to avoid it when it happens.