Winter Driving Tips

The Washington, DC, area sees frequent snow, sleet and ice during winter months – as well as the car accidents that go along with wintry weather.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) says that of 1.5 million weather-related car crashes annually, 15 percent happen during snow or sleet, 13 percent occur on icy pavement, and 11 percent take place on snowy or slushy pavement. Many weather-related car accidents result from a driver acting recklessly or carelessly in inclement weather.

Because The Abelson Law Firm has seen the harm suffered by victims of reckless and negligent drivers, we offer the winter driving tips below, adapted from a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) program.

Three Ps for Safe Winter Driving

The best way to avoid a car accident in ice and snow is to stay off of the road during wintry weather. Unfortunately that is not always possible.

OSHA says that if you must drive in snow, sleet or ice, take steps to PREPARE for the trip, PROTECT yourself and PREVENT car crashes.


  • Check your car’s battery, tire tread, windshield wipers and antifreeze. To keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir.
  • Keep a flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), a shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets in your vehicle. For long trips, take food and water, medication and a cell phone.
  • Know where you are going and allow yourself plenty of time. Check the weather forecast and leave early if necessary. Let others know your route and your anticipated arrival time.
  • Practice winter driving. During daylight in an open area, like an empty parking lot, get a feel for how your car handles on snow and ice by driving slowly, accelerating, turning and braking.


  • Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
  • Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
  • Children age 12 and younger are much safer in the back seat.


  • Leave more distance between vehicles. Stopping distances are longer on surfaces made slippery by snow, ice and slush.
  • Drive more slowly and at a consistent speed. Brake gently to avoid a skid. In a panic situation, stomp on antilock brakes, but pump non-antilock brakes. Know which type of brakes your car has.
  • Turn slowly. If you begin to slide, steer into the skid.
  • Keep your eyes open for pedestrians in the road.
  • Avoid fatigued or drowsy driving. Get plenty of rest before a trip, stop at least every three hours and rotate drivers if possible.
  • Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving. If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver.
  • If you stall or get stuck, don’t overexert trying to get going again. Stay with your car. Put bright markers on your car’s antenna or windows, and shine the dome light. If you run your car, do so just enough to stay warm. Make sure that the exhaust pipe is not blocked and crack a window. Never idle in an enclosed space.

Help from a Washington DC Car Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, even the safest driver cannot always avoid crashes caused by other negligent drivers. If you have been hurt in a winter weather car crash that was not your fault, The Abelson Law Firm, can help you seek justice and fair compensation for your losses.

Contact us for a free consultation about your options for seeking help with medical bills, property damage, lost income and other losses related to your car accident. Call us or contact us online today.


  • FHA – How Do Weather Events Impact Roads?
  • OSHA – Safe Winter Driving

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