Tips for Staying Safe in a Cold-Weather Car Accident

Winter weather increases the chance of an accident. Whether its snow or ice, the conditions quickly can become hazardous. But another risk to consider when involved in a collision—whether it’s a single vehicle or more — is getting stranded when the temperatures are especially cold.

Tips on Avoiding a Car Accident during Snowy or Icy Conditions

Of course, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid an accident in the first place. No one can control the actions of other drivers. But remaining especially alert and cautious with one’s driving may reduce the likelihood of an accident.

The following are tips that could help prevent an accident during wintry weather conditions: 

  • decrease speed;
  • don’t tailgate — leave extra space between vehicles, at least three times more than normal;
  • increase visibility to others by turning on headlights; and
  • prepare for the possibility of black ice (especially over bridges and on ramps).

Ways to Stay Safe When a Car Accident Leaves You Stranded 

When a vehicle becomes inoperable, especially after a single-car accident, there’s the risk of getting stranded. But it also could happen when the collision involves another vehicle. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important to know how to stay safe.

If your vehicle leaves you stranded, keep the following tips in mind: 

  • use cellphone to call for help (tow company, family member or friend and then don’t wear the battery out!);
  • stay with the vehicle — don’t attempt to look for help (your car provides shelter, and disorientation and exhaustion happen quickly while walking through the elements);
  • use supplies from your emergency kit sparingly;
  • draw attention to the vehicle with the car’s dome light (if dark), flares or a bright bandanna on antennae;
  • don’t sleep while the vehicle is running;
  • don’t run the vehicle for long periods of time with windows closed (to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning); and
  • make sure the tailpipe is cleared of all snow before running the vehicle – you may have to check this intermittently, depending on if the snow continues and how long you are stranded.
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