How to Drive Safely in the Snow in Atlanta
While snow may be a rarity in Atlanta, it does happen. The average annual snowfall amount in Atlanta is 2.2 inches according to The Southeast Regional Climate Center, although there have been a few rare years where four inches or more has been recorded on a single day. While snowfall in Atlanta can be a pleasant surprise, exciting children and adults alike who are not used to the fluffy precipitation, it can also be dangerous for drivers. In the event of a snowfall in Atlanta or surrounding areas this year, it is important that you are adequately prepared. Here are some tips for driving safely in the snow in Atlanta this winter to avoid a car accident:
The Biggest Problem with Snow In Atlanta
In other cities throughout the United States, snow during the long winter months is both a common and an expected occurrence. Drivers living in cities where snow is common are much better equipped to handle the snow, and often have years’ worth of experience driving in it. In Atlanta, however, the biggest problem with snow is that drivers are not used to it. Because no one knows how to drive in the snow, a snowstorm can cause a bit of a panic. Not only are roads icy and wet, but drivers are also less adept at maintaining their vehicles in conditions such as this.
Try to Stay Indoors During a Snow Storm if Possible
When snow hits, staying in doors and foregoing your usual commute is the recommended choice. Again, drivers in Atlanta do not always know how to handle snow appropriately, increasing the risk of accidents. In fact, in 2014 when a large storm struck the south, the Georgia State Patrol reported that there were more than 940 wrecks in the metro area, and the Georgia National Guard was dispatched in order to help motorists with medical needs. In fact, the traffic was so bad that some students and commuters were unable to make it home that night, according to a January 2014 report published by USA Today. If staying indoors is not possible, then heed the tips for avoiding weather-related car accidents discussed below.
Make Sure Your Vehicle is Weather Ready
Even if you are unsure whether or not you will encounter snow in Atlanta this winter, you should get your vehicle prepared for the snow just in case. Make sure your tire tread is not overly worn, check your tire pressure, and make sure you keep a full tank of gas. You should also have your wiper fluid and windshield wiper pads checked to ensure that both are ready to remove rain, snow, sleet, ice, or dirt that are inevitable when a storm hits.
You should also pack your car with some basic winter and emergency essentials that can help you in the event that you breakdown, are stranded, or are in a snow accident. This pack should include jumper cables, non-perishable food and water, a flashlight, blankets, a tire jack and spare tire, and a basic first aid kit. If you will be traveling outside of a populous area, bring an emergency radio just in case. The more prepared you are, the better.
Take it Slowly
If you will be driving in a storm, you may be able to prevent a weather related car accident from occuring simply by taking it a little bit slower than normal. Not only does this mean going the speed limit, but even driving under the speed limit if traveling faster is not safe for the conditions. Even if you are running late, slow down, and give other drivers plenty of room. Patience while driving during the snow can help to keep everyone safe, and improve your chances of you arriving at your destination without any unforeseen incidents.
Stay Aware and Focused
Snow accidents are more common not only when drivers have inexperience driving in snow and ice, but also when drivers are impaired, fatigued, or distracted. If driving in the snow for you this winter is unavoidable, at least be sure to operate your vehicle while:
- Fully awake – Never drive if you did not get a good night’s sleep or are so tired that your ability to concentrate may be impaired;
- Sober – If you have taken any prescription drugs that impair your cognition or have physical side effects, alcohols, or other substances, do not get behind the wheel, especially during a snowstorm; and
- Distraction-free – Driving while distracted is a top killer on U.S. roadways each year. While driving, be sure to refrain from taking your eyes off of the road to adjust the radio, read an email or text message, make a phone call, eat, self-groom, or anything else that takes your attention from the road. This also includes making sure that kids and pets are properly secured to prevent distractions and help to protect them in the event of an accident.
What to Do if a Car Accident Occurs
If you are involved in a car accident in Atlanta, the best thing that you can do is to contact an attorney. This is true even if you believe that your insurance company is on your side; if you have suffered significant losses, an attorney can help you to negotiate for a settlement amount that fully pays for the extent of your damages.
Our Car Accident Team is Ready to Represent You
At The Millar Law Firm, our experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys can help you learn more about your rights and responsibilities after a car accident, who might be held liable, and what you need to know about filing a claim in a timely manner. If you have been injured, do not wait to call us. Our attorneys are reachable today via phone, or by filling out a contact form online. Your initial consultation with our team is always free, and we will not charge you unless your car accident claim is successful. We hope that you are safe on the roads this winter; if an accident happens, you know who to call.