Car crashes are scary enough on their own- add a layer of Buffalo’s infamous snow, ice and hail, and you may start to feel a bit nervous about being on the road this winter. We’ve all experienced lake effect snow that made roadways undriveable- this past November, we had a record-breaking 66 inches! Buffalo is no stranger to harsh road conditions like ice, snow, and sleet in the winter months, so we’ve compiled some tips to help you get around town in these snowy months and avoid a car crash as best as possible.
Car crashes occur frequently in snowy conditions
Did you know that almost one quarter of all auto accidents are experienced while driving in winter conditions? Driving in winter can be dangerous, and it's very easy to lose control of your vehicle on the slippery surface of ice-covered roads, and the chance of car accidents can be higher. Taking the time to travel slowly will help you maintain control. If you need to accelerate over a hill, don’t just step on the gas, which could lead to a car crash; make sure you accelerate slowly, for the same reason of regaining as much traction as possible and avoid skidding or sliding.
Slippery roads can cause a lot of problems, so we also highly recommend increasing your following distance. This means staying a little bit farther away from the car in front of you. By going slow, and accounting that the ice might make you slip, you are helping to prevent a car accident.
Stock up the car in case of an emergency
It’s easy to feel anxious or nervous about a car crash in the winter, especially given the fact that harsh snowy conditions may leave you stranded in your car. Being prepared for such an event, or even very slow low-visibility traffic, can help ease your mind.
Keeping extra blankets, supplies such as an ice scraper or snow brush, jumper cables, and even a phone charger are all ways to make sure that you can be prepared in case of an emergency. Some people even go as far as to carry extra snacks and bottles of water, as well as extra medications in case of an emergency. Experts also recommend keeping something heavy in the trunk of your car, like sand or kitty litter, so that if you do unfortunately get stuck, you can help gain traction to free yourself from a ditch or roadside.
It’s also helpful to consider stocking up on gas. Make sure that your tank in the cold months is always half way full or more. This way, you're making sure that your gas lines don’t freeze over, and if you need to change your route or go back because of the weather, you will have enough gas to get where you need to go safely. As Buffalo is the city of good neighbors, you’ll never know when you’ll need to help a buddy who’s crashed or someone who’s stuck on the side of the road. Having extra fuel in your gas tank is always a good idea.
Car care in the winter
The winter weather in Buffalo can cause more concerns than just accidents- the harsh conditions can create a good amount of wear and tear to cars. From tires that might need to be replaced or refilled from the cold air, to cars not running properly because of lack of heating up, it's important to double check different areas of your car so you can avoid a car crash or getting stranded. It’s best to make sure your brakes and battery are up to date, and that you have enough windshield wiper fluid. It’s popular in Buffalo to have winter windshield wipers and tires as well. Warming up your car thoroughly in really cold conditions is a must, so that nothing will freeze over or accidentally break from the cold. But it is important to note that you do not warm up your car in an enclosed place like a garage, as the result can be carbon monoxide poisoning which is fatal. If you park in a garage, pull outside while your vehicle is warming up.