January brought freezing temperatures to South Carolina as well as the rest of the country.
Not since 1924 – 89 years ago – had the Columbia area experienced temperatures as low as those recorded on Jan. 7. The record for Jan. 7 was 16 degrees in 1924, The State reported.
Cold temperatures present particular challenges to drivers. In the south many drivers are not used to driving in icy conditions and this can be a cause of numerous accidents on the roads.
The Weather Channel published a series of safety tips for bad weather driving. The article said the best advice when temperatures plummet or snow coats the ground is don't go out at all.
Other important tips include:
- Always avoid snowy roads before a snow plough has arrived on the scene.
- If you must drive in the snow, make sure your car is prepared and that you know how to handle the bad conditions.
- When driving on icy roads, decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room for stopping. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between your car and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If you feel your wheels are starting to lock, ease off your brakes
- Turn on your lights to make yourself more visible to others in poor conditions
- Don't get on the roads and keep your windshield clean once you are on the highway.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially when driving on hills.
- Always be particularly cautious when you are driving on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads which freeze before other roads. Sometimes drivers can get a false sense of security when temperatures rise above freezing and then come to grief on ice on shady areas or on exposed roadways.
- Never pass snow ploughs and sanding trucks. These vehicles have poor visibility and the road ahead of them will typically be untreated.
- If you do enter a skid, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want the wheels to go in.
- If you have standard brakes, pump them gently in in icy conditions but do not pump anti-lock brakes. Instead apply steady pressure to them.
- If you get stuck in snow do not spin your wheels. It will only dig you in deeper.
- Be prepared for a possible break down. Keep a blanket in your car, make sure your cell phone is charged and have a flashlight and food and water.
- Check your levels of antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, brakes, your heater, your emergency flashers, your defroster, your tires, fuel and oil before driving in icy conditions.
Wind chills meant temperatures fell to the danger zone in Columbia and around. Although those temperatures are extreme, other periods of freezing conditions are expected before the end of winter.
While following these tips can help keep you safe, there is no guarantee that other drivers will be as prepared for the icy conditions as you are. If you end up injured in a car accident due to the fault of another driver, you should call an experienced Columbia auto accident injury lawyer at the Masella Law Firm at 803.748.9990.