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Caution is still required for winter driving in mild climates

Now that winter is here, you can finally look forward to hot chocolate, warm scarves and - an increased risk of car accidents? Unfortunately for you and other Californians, winter weather often means drivers are likely to slide, skid and spin when the weather turns bad.

You should not be fooled by the typically mild winters we enjoy in Southern California, either. There is always the possibility of an unexpected cold snap causing wet roads to briefly freeze, especially at night. Also, drivers in milder climates may develop a false sense of security and believe road conditions rarely change due to the weather.

    However, that assumption is incorrect. The following points illustrate the types of hazardous seasonal driving situations you might encounter in this region:

    • At night and during early morning hours, a thin sheet of dry ice might form beneath underpasses or over bridges, especially near water.
    • Fog can dramatically reduce visibility.
    • Fresh rainfall and motor oil residue on the road can create a slippery surface.
    • Sheets of rainwater on the road can cause hydroplaning.

    Auto insurer Esurance states that almost 22 percent of all vehicle accidents are caused by the weather. You may increase your own safety, and the safety of others, by adjusting your driving to the weather conditions. Speed is the top cause of crashes on slippery roads. During adverse weather, slowing down is possibly the most important thing you can do to prevent an accident. You will also want to allow yourself more time to stop and give other vehicles additional room. When the weather is stormy, consider leaving earlier so you do not feel as if you must rush on slippery roads to get to your destination on time.

    When you understand the risks of winter driving and are responsible behind the wheel, you stand a much better chance of arriving at your destination safely.

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