MaineDOT Warns of Winter Weather Perils as Holiday Travel Season Begins

Our Portland personal injury attorneys remind motorists to have their vehicle serviced as we get ready for the upcoming holiday travel season and the onset of winter weather.

The Maine Department of Transportation reports fewer than 1,000 crashes a month occur in October. More than 2,000 occur in November and more than 10,000 traffic crashes a month occur in both December and January.

Snowfall in Central Maine average 64 to 120 inches a year.

Maine Prepares
is a website that addresses a host of winter issues, including generators and the risk of carbon monoxide; energy efficiency and kerosene safety; preventing frozen pipes; National Weather Service awareness; and safe-driving information.

Winter Driving Checklist

-Have your vehicle serviced: Includes checking tires, coolant, battery and wipers.

-Keep a fuller tank of gas.

-Carry sand backs and other supplies.

-Get snow tires and/or tire chains.

-Carry a cellphone when traveling.

-Keep your vehicle clean.

MaineDOT Safe Winter Driving Tips

-Slow Down: Stopping without sliding or skidding requires extra distance. And driving in snow requires you to allow extra time to reach your destination.

-Traveling Distance: Allow plenty of time to stop, whether approaching another vehicle, an intersection or your private driveway.

-Four-Wheeling: Four-wheel drive provides moderately better traction in snow, is of no help on ice, and does not mean a driver is invincible. In fact, while all-wheel drive can help you go faster, it will not help you stop sooner of have better control. The end result? Driving can be even more dangerous.

-Don’t Take Chances:
Use patience. Don’t pull out in front of other motorists, try to beat a light, or take other chances that can increase your accident risks.

Brake early, brake slowly and brake correctly. Most vehicles are now equipped with anti-lock brakes, which means you can press firmly on the pedal and hold it. Those without anti-lock brakes should gently pump the pedal.

-Stay Alert: Driving in inclement weather is certainly no time for distraction. Be aware of what’s occurring well ahead of you.

Sudden Moves:
Don’t make them when avoidable. In many cases, you are most at risk if you lose control of your vehicle. Whether accelerating, braking or turning, do so slowly and deliberately.

Stock Up:
Your vehicle should be equipped with supplies in the event of a breakdown. These include jumper cables, basic tools, flashlight, first-aid, windshield washer fluid, reflectors, antifreeze or deicer, bottled water, blankets, sand or cat litter, an empty gas can and extra flashlight batteries.

You should also stay sober, stay alert and stay informed. Check the weather before heading out. Be aware of road closures. And give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. By doing your part to prepare for winter, you can reduce your risks of being stranded or of being involved in a serious or fatal traffic collision.

If you are the victim of a Maine traffic accident, contact us at 1-800-804-2004 or read more on our website.

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