Historically, January is Maine's snowiest month but that doesn't mean we're in the clear yet. There is still plenty of winter left just waiting to make our roads treacherous for even the smallest vehicle trip. Whether you live in Portland or communities far afield, it is critical that you take every step possible to keep yourself and your family safe on winter roads.
Before You Drive
The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) consistently updates their website with tips and season-relevant statistics. You might have shifted into drive, but there are some things MDOT suggests you can do to keep safe and secure.
- Even if you are in a rush, always clear all windows of snow and ice. Many people will only clean the sections of window they think they'll need to look through but this is dangerous thinking. Additionally, clear your headlights and brake lights of snow.
- Keep a box or bag in your car filled with emergency equipment. This equipment can include a blanket, extra gloves, shovel, and sand or cat litter to help a vehicle gain traction. Additionally, you can store a flashlight, extra batteries, road flares, protein bars and bottles of water in case you are stranded.
Even a short time spent preparing can mean the difference in the winter months.
While On The Road
In a cold weather situation, there are numerous things you need to be aware of on the road.
- Watch for plow trucks backing out of driveways.
- High snow banks diminish visibility making other vehicles, pedestrians and children difficult to see.
- Be cautious of black ice that can form when wet surfaces freeze on bridges, in shaded areas or at night.
- Give snow plows and sand spreaders a wide berth whether passing or crossing paths.
Use Common Sense
Of course, common sense rules apply. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you're going and give yourself an extra cushion of space between other cars when possible. Be aware that it'll take you longer to stop in traffic. If you are involved in a car crash, do not hesitate to discuss your options for monetary compensation with a trusted personal injury attorney.