Winter in Minnesota brings its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to road safety. The frigid temperatures, snow and ice that are characteristic of a Minnesota winter can lead to hazardous driving conditions. Each year, winter accidents claim lives and cause numerous injuries, many of which are preventable.
The key to safe winter driving is not just about how well you drive, but also about recognizing and responding appropriately to the challenging conditions you face. Knowing the major causes of winter accidents can help you take preventive measures.
Icy and snow-covered roads
The most common cause of winter accidents in Minnesota is icy and snow-covered roads. These conditions can lead to vehicles skidding and drivers losing control. It is important to drive slowly and carefully on icy roads and to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.
Heavy snowfall and blizzards can drastically reduce visibility, making it difficult to see the road ahead, other vehicles and obstacles. In such conditions, reduce your speed, use your headlights and if necessary, pull over safely until visibility improves.
Inexperienced or reckless driving
Some drivers underestimate the challenges of winter driving or overestimate their driving skills. This can lead to reckless or inexperienced driving, which often results in accidents. Drive cautiously and avoid risky maneuvers.
Not preparing your vehicle for winter
Failing to prepare your vehicle for winter can also lead to accidents. This includes not using winter tires, not ensuring that your brakes are in good condition and not having enough windshield washer fluid. Make sure your car is well-maintained and equipped for winter driving.
In the U.S., there are more than 2,200 deaths annually as a result of winter weather. By being aware of winter hazards, you can take steps to drive safely and reduce the risk of accidents. You should drive according to the conditions, and remember that safety should be your top priority.