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When driving in poor weather conditions it is best to consider these 10 driving tips this holiday season.
Snow is a fact of life for us here in Iowa. Last year Storm Lake had an average of 17.7 days of snowfall and 86 days of rain, with a total of 36.4 inches of precipitation. Poor weather driving conditions are a fact of life on Iowa roads and studies have found that precipitation raises the risk of traffic crashes significantly. Traffic fatalities are the 9th leading cause of death in the United States and the first leading cause of death among young drivers under 18. Young and elderly drivers over 65 years old are statistically at the most risk while driving in poor weather conditions. These drivers are at the most risk with the first snowfall of the year, statistically the worst days for fatal driving accidents. Remember our top 10 tips below for your travels this holiday season.
The bottom line, traveling in poor weather conditions is dangerous, so drive safe out there this holiday season.
November of 2014 is one of the worst driver fatality months since 2010 for Iowa residents. Driving errors leading to fatality are preventable. The most common preventable driving error on the roads is driving faster than conditions allow. The next most common errors are following too closely and breaking too quickly. Following too closely does not allow your vehicle enough time to brake if the vehicle in front of you decides to stop quickly. Braking too quickly or other quick driving changes increases the chances of you losing control of your vehicle. The fourth most preventable driver error is not having a properly prepared vehicle. This includes kitty litter for helping free your vehicle if stuck, road flares, proper air in your tires, window scraper, lock de-icer, snow-tires, tire-chains and an additional blanket or cold weather clothing if you should find yourself stranded on the roadside. Sadly, wearing your seat belt must also be mentioned as over 38% of motor vehicle accidents fatalities involve occupants not wearing any seat belts.
When driving in poor weather conditions it is best to master these Top 10 driving habits
1. Accelerate gently and brake gently 2. Slow before entering turns 3. Avoid tire spin, take your foot off the gas if you notice the tires loosing traction 4. Keep gear changes smooth 5. Avoid sudden driver movements in speed, direction or gear changes 6. Keep Engine RPMs low 7. Look ahead and break early 8. Do not “pump” the brakes if your Anti-lock Breaking System engages 9. Increase speed prior to going uphill 10. Watch out for larger vehicles
Another practical tip is to practice driving your vehicle on a track or open area free of pedestrians and other vehicles in snowy weather. You can practice skidding, breaking and various acceleration techniques while maintaining safety. If you are ever involved in a motor vehicle accident call 911 immediately. If you are in a dangerous situation get to safety as quickly as possible.
1. Weather Source: http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Iowa/annual-snowfall.php
2. Tire chains: http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/tire-chains/
3. Rachel Oswald, 5 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid While Driving in the Snow, http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/accidents-hazardous-conditions/5-snow-driving-mistakes.htm/
4. Eisenberg D., Accid Anals Prev. 2004 Jul;36(4):637-47. The mixed effects of precipitation on traffic crashes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449863/
5. Dennis Kleen, FARS Manager & Driver Data Iowa Department of Transportation, Office of Driver Services http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ods/stats/daily.pdf
6. Neil Dunlop, Contributor Republished: 05/05/2009 (Original Date: 02/11/2003) http://www.edmunds.com/how-to/how-to-drive-in-the-snow.html?articleid=45193
7. Driving Fast.net http://www.drivingfast.net/techniques/winter-driving-techniques.htm#2