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Winter Driving Tips for Montana Roads

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 17 percent of vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions. However, during a Montana snowstorm it can feel like every single turn of the steering wheel might result in an accident.

The Advocates can help you if you have been injured in a car accident, but it would be better for everyone if you avoided a winter-road crash as best you can. Follow our tips for safe winter driving.

Slow Down

This is the number one tip on every professional and law enforcement list. In snowy conditions it takes longer to stop. Your brakes may not react the same way they do in dry conditions, and you may slide out of control if you lose traction between your tires and the road. The best way to be prepared for these new hazards is to slow down during winter driving.

Law enforcement recommends that drivers with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive also follow the counsel to drive more slowly. Many drivers think that all-terrain features make them invincible in snow. That is not true, 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive may give drivers a little bit more control, but the features do not erase the dangers of winter driving. Ice is still slick. You will still need more room to stop, and more room to maneuver, so drive slowly.

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

Winter comes every single year at the same time. Prepare for winter driving. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends checking every system in your vehicle before hitting the road.

Driving on bald tires is always dangerous, but doing so in winter conditions can be disastrous. Even if you do not use snow-specific tires, your all-weather tires need to be in good condition with enough tread to keep contact with the road.

When it comes time for your daily trips, always keep your gas tank full. If you get stuck in traffic, you do not want to run out of gas waiting for it to clear on the highway. Traffic jams can be larger in the winter and losing power in your car can leave you without any heat as well as transportation.

Carry Supplies

Always be prepared to clear snow and ice from your windshield, headlights, and mirrors. It is a good idea to carry a snow scraper in your vehicle at all times even if there are no snowflakes falling when you leave home. Snow may fall while you are at work or running errands, and driving when your windshield is opaque with ice is a terrible idea.

Be prepared for any hazards you may face between your home and destination. If you suspect that you may get stuck in the snow, carry winter clothes, blankets, and tools with you. I started carrying a collapsible shovel in college after a client had to push my car out of a ditch in his shirtsleeves. Being prepared has saved me much embarrassment.

Being stranded in the snow is more dangerous that being stranded in non-winter conditions. because freezing temperatures outside could kill you if you are not prepared. Always carry shoes and coats in your vehicle in case you have to leave it and seek shelter somewhere else.