driving in the snow

If you can avoid driving when the weather turns bad, do it. However, if you need to drive, here are some tips to keep you safe and accident free.

Consider public transportation, carpooling, or a taxi.

If you are uncomfortable driving on snow and ice, explore other options for getting to work. You’ll feel much better and stay safer, and you’ll avoid causing problems for other drivers.

Make sure your tires have plenty of tread.

Your tires need a tread of at least 6/32” to be safe, and more is better. Have your mechanic measure your tread depth.

Slow down.

As Charleston car accident attorneys, one of the most common mistakes we see people make in the winter is failure to slow down. Your car is not as maneuverable on snow and ice as it is on dry roads, and you cannot stop as easily. Driving more slowly means you are less likely to lose control of your vehicle, and it takes less time to stop it.

Leave plenty of room, and stay alert.

Allow at least three times more space between your car and any vehicle in front of you. You need this cushion in case you need to stop your car. Your driving needs to have your full attention so you can anticipate slowing down or stopping. Put down the cell phone, the food, and anything else that may be distracting you.

Brake gently.

Do not suddenly hit your brakes on snow and ice, as you may put your car into a skid or a slide. Watch the cars around you to judge if you need to slow down. If you do not have antilock brakes, pump them gently to avoid locking. If you do have antilock brakes, keep the pressure to the brakes steady and they will pump themselves.

Let the car’s transmission help you.

If you have a car with manual transmission, drive one gear lower than you normally would for the speed you’re traveling. If you drive an automatic, put it in a lower gear than “D”. You’ll be driving more slowly and won’t need to use your brake as much. Do not use overdrive on snowy or icy roads.

Do not use cruise control when the roads are wet.

On wet roads, no matter the temperature, you lose control if you use cruise control. Even if no one else is around, leave cruise off.

If you slide . . .

Take your foot off the gas. If you have rear-wheel drive, steer in the direction you want to go. If you have a front-wheel-drive car, put the car in neutral until you regain control, then steer in the direction you want to go.

As you would in the summer, make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid and that your wiper blades are in good shape. Keep the inside of the windshield clean, and ensure that your headlights are visible whenever possible.

What’s your best winter driving tip?

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Georgia motorcycle tripMild in the winter and cool in the summer, the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway in northeast Georgia is a 40-mile cruise that winds through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains. Magnificent views, cool waterfalls, and majestic forests make this a trip not to be missed, and you’ll cross the Appalachian Trail on your journey.

The byway begins north at Robertstown and runs along SR 17/75, then goes southwest along SR 180, southeast along SR 348, and ends at SR 75 Alternate. Along the byway, you can visit several state parks, the Tray Mountain Wilderness, Raven Cliff and Anna Ruby Falls, and Brasstown Bald. Other areas to explore include High Shoals Creek Falls Scenic Area, Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation area, and Yonah Mountain.

With over 1200 acres, Unicoi and Vogel State Parks are two of Georgia’s most popular protected areas, with campsites and cozy cottages. Vogel also has trailer and RV sites. In these parks, you can hike, swim, play tennis, and go fishing while you take in the spectacular scenery. In the autumn, you’re treated to the changing colors in spectacular fashion.

Hiking trails abound in the Tray Mountain Wilderness, making it the perfect spot to watch wildlife. If you love waterfalls, the three Raven Cliff falls—one of which flows through a split in solid rock—will take your breath away. The Curtis and York creeks merge in dramatic fashion at Anna Ruby Falls, and you’ll enjoy picnic areas and a visitor center there.

One of the most spectacular views is on top of the 4,784-foot high Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest mountain peak. You can hike the trail up the mountain, or you can take the tour bus. Its large observation deck gives you a 360-degree view of the mountains and timberland year-round. You’ll see the North Georgia Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Rich Mountains, and Lake Chatuge in the Enchanted Valley. As you descend Brasstown Bald, you’ll see Track Rock Gap with its 10,000-year-old petroglyphs.

As motorcycle lawyers who also ride, we’ve been on many of America’s byways, and the Russell-Brasstown is one of our favorites.

Click here to read more posts about great scenic routes for motorcycle trips.

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