Anyone who’s driven through a Maryland winter season knows that it’s the most hazardous time of the year on the road. From December through February, hazardous driving conditions pose a danger to drivers and passengers, and it’s important to be aware and take precautions.
Car accidents spike dramatically during the winter months, with snowy and icy road conditions being the most significant cause. But there are multiple other factors that make winter driving more hazardous.
Reasons winter driving is so dangerous
Traction and the ability to steer and brake are dramatically compromised on icy or snowy roads. This can be especially problematic in Maryland, which experiences snow and ice, but not at the same volume as some northern states. As a result, Maryland drivers aren’t necessarily as experienced in driving in such adverse conditions, leading to more accidents.
Another significant problem with winter driving is reduced visibility. First of all, driving during snowfall leads to poor visibility. But the aftermath of snow (or icy rain/sleet) can be a problem too. Even just a little bit of ice or snow at the edges of windows or mirrors decreases visibility. And that slight bit of obstruction can be the difference between safety and an automobile accident.
Snow and ice aren’t the only contributors to dangerous driving during the winter. Another is the cold itself. Tire pressure naturally decreases when the temperature drops. This means that tires are more likely to go flat, and also don’t perform as responsively.
All these factors can make winter driving unpleasant and stressful. But taking a few common sense precautions can reduce your risk considerably. When driving in adverse winter conditions, make sure to increase the following distance between you and the car ahead of you, reduce your speed slightly and make sure to keep your mirrors and windows completely clear of obstruction during the winter months. If you’re vigilant and cautious, you can keep yourself and your passengers safe during the winter months.