For Northern Nevada, December signals the onset of winter weather and winter driving. That’s why Reno Police and the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) want to remind drivers to be careful and proceed with caution when snow and ice are about. With that in mind, here are a few tips that should get you safely through the winter season:
- Let your car run for a few minutes before entering roadways, engines can have less power and could hesitate if they have not properly warmed up
- Clear all snow, ice and frost from your windows before driving your vehicle—it’s the law in many states, including Nevada
- Make sure you fill up with “winter” windshield fluid before cold weather hits, you’ll also want to keep an ice scraper in your car
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full at all times, this can keep gas lines from freezing up while ensuring you don’t run out of gas while driving in bad conditions
- Drive slowly, test your brakes often, and, in the event of skidding, steer into the skid to keep from spinning out then correct while gently accelerating
Many people think that it’s not important to clear snow from the roof of their car, but NHP Trooper Dan Gordon disagrees, “It can cause a pretty dangerous situation for people following you, as the snow and the ice starts to fall off and it can cause issues with following traffic.” In fact, police can ticket you for not removing snow from either your windows or your car as you can pose a hazard to yourself or others. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) states that almost 1.3 million weather –related crashes occur each year, with close to half of those occurring in winter conditions.
Also, it’s a good idea to think beyond driving tactics—as winter conditions could have you stranded for an indefinite amount of time. Travelers Insurance recommends that, in addition to flares, a flashlight and sand or salt for improved traction, you also pack your car with an emergency blanket, non-perishable snacks such as energy bars or trail mix, and a pair of gloves or even an extra coat. Above all, you want to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way!
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.