It may only be November, but winter weather is already making its way to New Mexico. Less than two weeks ago, a record-breaking snowstorm blanketed the central part of the state with almost three inches of snow—ultimately leading to more than 130 Albuquerque traffic accidents in less than a 24-hour period.
With the weather quickly getting colder and more potential traffic on the road in the coming weeks due to the Thanksgiving holiday, now is an optimal time to prepare your vehicle for winter driving in New Mexico. Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys explains how to get ready for the changing seasons and offers helpful tips to avoid being in a weather-related accident.
Use A Vehicle Checklist For Winter Driving in New Mexico
Many winter car accidents can be prevented altogether by performing routine maintenance on your vehicle and having it inspected by a certified mechanic when the weather starts to cool down.
Note: Using this checklist provides a general guideline for most vehicles, but keep in mind that your maintenance needs may vary significantly depending on the age, condition, and type of car you drive. Consult your owner’s manual first and follow all manufacturer recommendations and warnings.
Check your tire pressure and tread depth—or switch to winter tires altogether. A drop in temperature can lead to a loss of tire pressure (about one pound per square inch for every 10 degrees cooler). Driving on tires without enough air in them can lead to premature tire wear, failure, and blowouts.
Check your tire pressure regularly, but be sure not to overinflate them, either. And if you live in an area of New Mexico that receives a fair amount of snow, consider switching to winter tires for improved traction and grip. Treads starting to look worn down? Consult a professional to see if it’s time to replace them.
Change your windshield wipers and washer fluid. Winter weather often means reduced visibility when it rains or snows. One place you don’t want to be is stuck on the highway with underperforming windshield wipers that don’t allow you to see the traffic or road hazards ahead of you.
Consider purchasing wiper fluid specifically formulated for cold weather to prevent freezing and improve longevity. You should also carry an ice scraper for particularly cold, icy mornings.
Pay attention to small issues that could become big problems later. If you notice any issues like hard starts, stalling, reduced power, or rough idling, get it checked out now as opposed to later, as winter driving in New Mexico could exacerbate existing problems.
Make sure your heater and defroster are in good working order. This one is about more than just keeping you toasty while driving. If your heater has stopped working, this could be due to a coolant issue, faulty engine thermostat, or malfunctioning water pump, all of which are important to keeping your engine running smoothly.
Have your car’s battery serviced. Car batteries don’t last forever and should be inspected regularly. While you’ll need the help of a professional to detect a weak battery, you can help maintain your car battery by inspecting it for signs of corrosion, cleaning its surface, and retightening any loose connections.
Safety Tips For Winter Driving in New Mexico
Completing your winter maintenance checklist is only half of the battle when it comes to preventing Albuquerque car accidents. You must also know how to drive safely in order to protect yourself from bad road conditions and bad drivers.
Be prepared for all kinds of weather, as New Mexico conditions can be difficult to predict. In many parts of the state, winter weather may be quite mild, with relatively low temperatures but mostly dry conditions.
However, this is where many visitors and even residents make mistakes: by not being prepared for potentially unexpected conditions like snow, rain, or ice, you may be putting you and your passengers at risk for an accident. Always check weather forecasts before you leave!
Know what to do if you encounter black ice. Reduce your speed and increase your following distance since your ability to stop quickly may be impeded. If you hit a patch of black ice, don’t hit the brakes and overcorrect. Keep the steering wheel straight and allow your vehicle to pass over the ice.
Be aware of the traffic surrounding you. Be especially cautious when driving near semi-trucks, which will require even more time to stop due to their sheer size. In low visibility, keep in mind that as well other vehicles like motorcycles being less visible to you, you may be less visible to others. Use your headlights when appropriate and check your mirrors often.
What To Do If You’re Injured in New Mexico Car Accident This Winter
Despite your best efforts to ready your vehicle for winter driving in New Mexico, not all accidents can be avoided. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident this winter due to the negligence of another driver, you may be owed compensation.
Contact the Albuquerque personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys today to secure a free case consultation. You can and should be compensated for your hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 505-544-4444 to learn more. You can also connect with a representative online via LiveChat, or send us your case details for review using this form.