Personal Injury Advocates Serving Northwest Indiana
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Home for the Holidays Winter Driving Safety

‘Tis the season for merriment and joy and celebrating the holidays. This is also the time when many of you drive near and far to see friends and family.

Your friends at Theodoros & Rooth want this to be a happy and safe time for you, so we offer this checklist courtesy of the Indiana State Police.

Be sure to …

• Refill antifreeze
• Check your brakes
• Replace wiper blades
• Check your battery
• Refill washer fluid

Be Prepared!
• Before you leave, check the forecast and let someone know your route of travel
• Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent gas line freezing
• Tires: chains provide the most traction followed by studded tires (permitted October 1st through May 1st) and regular snow tires
• Carry a winter survival kit which should include: blankets, flashlight and extra batteries, a brightly colored cloth, sand (or a bag of cat litter), shovel, candle and matches, non-perishable high calorie foods (nuts, raisins, and candy bars), newspapers (for insulation), a first aid kit, and jumper cables.

If you should become stranded:
• Don’t leave your car – it’s the best protection you have!
• Tie a brightly colored cloth to your antenna.
• Roll down a window a small amount.
• Keep the exhaust pipe free of blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Leave the dome light on at night to aid search parties.
• Don’t panic – an idling car uses only one gallon of gas per hour.

Drive According to . . . Road Conditions
• Allow extra time to get where you’re going
• Clear all windows of ice and snow
• Remove snow from hood, roof and lights
• Slow steady starts prevent needless spinning of the wheels
• Pavement is twice as slippery at 32° as it is at 0°
• Beware of bridges, underpasses, overpasses, shaded areas and intersections where ice is slow to melt
• SLOW DOWN – it increases traction
• Avoid abrupt stops and starts – slow down gradually and keep wheels turning to avoid getting stuck
• Use low beam headlights to decrease glare from ice
• Wet pavement can cause hydroplaning at speeds as low as 35 mph – wheels may lose contact with the pavement causing a skid or spin

Drive Defensively!
• Wear your safety belt at all times
• Don’t tailgate — always leave a safety cushion of at least two car lengths per 10 mph you’re traveling
• When braking on ice apply gentle but firm pressure without locking brakes
• Watch for pedestrians – poor visibility and slippery conditions provide hazardous walkways and crossings
• Anticipate others’ actions
• To regain control during a skid, release brakes and gently steer the car in the direction of skid

Please Remember . . .
• Adding weight to the back of your vehicle may alter its handling capabilities.
• Don’t decrease tire pressure to increase traction. The only thing this increases is wear on the tires!
• Make sure your cell phone is charged fully in case you need to make an emergency call. It’s a good idea to have a cord to connect directly to your car battery so you don’t run out of battery.
• And, above all, don’t text and drive.

Finally, this is the season when accidents always increase because of road conditions and due to many drivers being pre-occupied or even driving under the influence.

Our best advice: Be careful! And a cliché, but still a good one: Buckle up and watch out for the other guy. Remember, it’s sometimes hard to tell when roads are slippery and when you might encounter someone not paying attention.

We hope you don’t need a personal injury attorney, but remember, Theodoros & Rooth is always here for you in case you have been the victim of an irresponsible driver.