There’s no doubt that 2020 has thrown us a lot of curveballs. One thing that hasn’t changed this year?

Snow arriving in Western New York.

Driving during snowy and icy conditions increases the risk of an accident. The best way to avoid an accident during bad weather conditions is to avoid them altogether by staying home. Unfortunately, that’s not usually an option for Western New Yorker drivers. Instead, we should redouble our efforts at practicing safe driving techniques.

First, drive carefully. It’s also important to leave yourself plenty of time to clear your vehicle of snow and to get where you’re going. Many believe it’s better to get to your destination a few minutes late than to not make it at all.

Second, accelerate and decelerate slowly. Speeding up slowly will allow your vehicle to regain traction easier as well as avoid skidding or sliding. Giving yourself time and space to slow down gradually is important because it takes a lot longer to slow down on icy roads. If you don’t give yourself this time and space, you’re more likely to collide with vehicles in front of you or continue into the intersection. Remember that if you do skid, continue steering the vehicle in the direction you want it to go. Read your owner’s manual to determine the correct strategy for braking.

Third, when you come to hills, you have to drive a little differently. Don’t stop if you can avoid it. And don’t power up a hill. Doing so will just make your tires spin. Once you’re at the top, reduce your speed and go down the hill slowly. Once you’ve started up the hill, it’s best not to stop. It will be even harder to get going again.

Finally, prepare yourself and your car in case something unexpected happens. Keep a winter safety kit in your vehicle that includes a bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, or even kitty litter), a small snow shovel, a flashlight, an extra pair of gloves, ice scraper, blanket, and warning flares or triangles. If you don’t have flares or triangles, a brightly colored piece of cloth can be helpful. Tie it to your antenna or place it in your window.

Driving during a snowstorm sometimes feels like second nature to us Western New Yorkers, but whether you’ve been driving in this weather for one year or 80 years, you have to practice safe driving techniques at all times.

And that’s because accidents can happen. The Coppola Firm is here to help if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident. Our team of experienced attorneys work aggressively to protect your interests as the result of an accident.