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Tips for Driving Safely in Kentucky Winter Weather

December 5, 2019

Driving is statistically one of the most dangerous things that anyone does. During the latest reporting year, the Kentucky Department of Transportation says that there was a total of 158,171 total traffic collisions reported across the state. Out of those, there were 724 fatalities and 33,914 injuries.

As the weather cools, drivers need to be aware that conditions will become even more fraught on the roadways. Rain, snow, and ice present significant challenges for even the most seasoned Kentucky drivers. Below, we outline some important tips for drivers to follow in Kentucky winter weather.

Be Prepared in Advance

Make sure your vehicle is in good shape before the winter driving season kicks into full gear. Make sure your tires have a proper amount of tread. If you have any mechanical issues with your vehicle, get them repaired before operating in winter weather.

You should keep extra blankets, food, and water in your vehicle just in case you break down in winter weather and cannot get immediate help. Your car is your best shelter when broken down in a winter storm. Call for help and remain with your vehicle if you get stuck.

Snow and Ice Present Significant Challenges

If there are freezing conditions that result in snow and ice, you need to maintain a slow and steady speed at all times. Leave yourself plenty of room behind the vehicle in front of you just in case other vehicles (or yours) begins to slide on icy roads. Cars can skid and slide much easier, especially if one or more tires suddenly get a grip on the road while other tires are on ice and snow.

Drive in the tracks left by other cars and if you start to skid, stop accelerating but do not hit the brakes. Steer your car in the direction you want to go and away from hazards. Accelerate slowly once you begin to regain traction.

Handling Black Ice

Black ice is a serious hazard, and it occurs when water has frozen into clear ice that blends with the roadway. This unseen hazard can lead to serious accidents. When a driver hits a patch of black ice unexpectedly, they may panic and make mistakes that lead to a crash. Any time the temperature is below freezing, be prepared for black ice on the roadway. You are most likely to encounter black ice at the following places:

  • Underpasses in the shadows of bridges where runoff may collect
  • In the shadows of tall buildings or trees
  • At the bottoms of hills
  • On the outside lanes of multi-lane roads

Rain and Hydroplaning

It rains more in Kentucky in the winter months, so drivers need to be prepared for slick roadways. The biggest danger when driving on wet roads is hydroplaning. This occurs when a vehicle’s tires lose friction with the roadway and rides along the surface of the water.

If you are on a roadway with multiple lanes, try to drive on the inner lanes. Hydroplaning is more likely to occur on the outside lanes where water can pool. If you feel your vehicle begin to hydroplane, lift your foot off the accelerator but resist the urge to brake. Steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go. As you regain traction, you can gently accelerate the vehicle to reestablish control.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to Kentucky’s winter weather conditions, speak with a Lexington car accident attorney today to review your legal options.