Make sure you’re familiar with your automotive insurance policy. If not, you could find yourself liable for a large chunk of money if you’re involved in a mishap due to adverse weather.

Unfortunately, some dishonest people in that situation lie and try to create a scenario that is covered by their policy to avoid paying out-of-pocket. Lying to get money they aren’t entitled to is insurance fraud, a serious crime. Read some real-life winter weather-related fraud stories.

Bottom line: Driving during the winter months can be full of unpredictable hazards. Minimize the physical and financial threats of the dangerous, icy season by taking extra driving precautions and by knowing your auto coverage inside and out.

Winter Weather Driving Tips

It’s important to first make sure your automotive insurance policy is current and that you’re covered in the event wintry conditions cause an accident. Learn the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage. Most importantly, talk with your insurance agent and fully understand what your policy does and doesn’t cover.

Then get a pre-season check-up from your mechanic to ensure your car is ready for the onslaught of extreme weather conditions. Make sure all your lights are working, your fluid levels are full and that you keep your gas tank filled at least to the halfway point. If you must travel during adverse weather conditions, pack a winter emergency travel kit.1

Additional Tips for Driving in Snow and Ice

  • Drive slower than usual and increase the distance between you and the car in front of you.
  • Avoid starting or stopping suddenly.
  • Be on the lookout for roads that appear wet but are actually frozen, often referred to as the treacherous “black ice.”
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps where ice often forms before the rest of the roadways.
  • Maintain maximum visibility by removing ice and snow from windows, mirrors and all vehicle lights.
  • Keep the hood and roof of your vehicle clear of snow and ice. You can be liable if these break loose and cause an accident, injury or death.
  • If you do become stranded, stay in your vehicle until help arrives. Run the engine every hour or so to stay warm, but make sure the tailpipe is clear and keep the downwind window cracked.

References


1PA Department of Transportation, drivesafepa.org‚ “Winter Driving.”