Ochs Law Firm Blog

How to Drive Safe This Holiday Season in Casper, Wyoming

Casper’s winter wonderland extends beyond the city center, with scenic mountain passes and some of the best skiing beckoning to all you winter enthusiasts. While these destinations offer breathtaking beauty, navigating the snowy roads we often see during this season demands additional preparation and skill. Your personal injury lawyer in Wyoming has seen every type of accident and offers some tips below to keep you out of one!

Tips From Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Wyoming: Safe Driving for the Holiday Season

Mountain Passes

Before embarking on a mountain pass journey, ensure your vehicle is adequately equipped for the challenge. Chains or traction mats may be required during certain weather conditions, so familiarize yourself with the pass’s specific regulations and be prepared for potential closures due to heavy snowfall or avalanche risks.

As you go through, adjust your speed significantly below the posted limit. Remember: those limits are the upper limit for when conditions are perfect. They’re not goals you have to reach! During the wintery holiday season, black ice and reduced visibility are common hazards, requiring extra caution and focus. Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, too, which gives you ample space for maneuvering in case of sudden stops or skids.

Descending mountain passes presents a unique challenge. Don’t rely solely on your regular brakes. Use engine braking by downshifting gears to control your speed and minimize reliance on wheel brakes. Avoid overheating your brakes, which can lead to reduced stopping power: if you smell burning, stop and give the brakes a rest. Take sharp corners slowly and steadily, maintaining control of the vehicle throughout the descent.

City Slicks and Residential Roads

Quiet city streets can transform into winter obstacle courses during snow. Be prepared for slower travel times and adjust your driving habits accordingly. Avoid abrupt braking as much as possible, and try to maintain smooth acceleration and deceleration by thinking in advance about when you’ll need to stop and letting off on the accelerator. Leave ample space between your vehicle and others, especially when turning and stopping.

Pay close attention to traffic signals and yield signs, as visibility may be reduced by snowdrifts or falling snow. Be extra cautious when approaching intersections and crosswalks, as pedestrians may have difficulty navigating slippery sidewalks and may even fall in front of you in a worst-case scenario.

Parking also requires additional vigilance. Choose designated parking areas and avoid spaces that appear suspiciously empty, as they might be hiding unplowed snowdrifts or icy patches. Clear snow and ice from your vehicle thoroughly before driving so you have visibility for yourself and don’t blind other drivers with snow drifting off as you drive.

Essential Gear and Emergency Preparedness

While preparation is key for safe winter driving, even the most cautious plans can be upended by unexpected weather events. Casper’s unpredictable winter conditions require that you have the right gear and a well-stocked emergency kit readily available in your vehicle. Here are some things you’ll always want to have before taking any kind of winter drive:

Ice Scraper and Snow Brush

These are essential for clearing ice and snow from your windshield, windows, and mirrors before driving. Ensure they are sturdy and have long handles for efficient scraping. Look for scrapers that are designed not to scratch: cheap scrapers can leave long scratches in your car that ice and road salt can get into and cause rusting.

Jumper Cables or Battery Jumper

Dead batteries are more common in cold weather, so having reliable jumper cables can save you from a lot of hassle waiting for roadside assistance. If you’re going somewhere where there aren’t many people, consider getting a portable jumper that can do the job on its own. Make sure it’s big enough to charge your vehicle battery and is charged up before you leave.

Flashlight (And Extra Batteries)

Emergencies often occur in low-light conditions, so a powerful flashlight with spare batteries ensures you have adequate lighting if needed.

Traction Mats

These provide additional grip on snow and ice, which is particularly helpful when you’re stuck in a slippery situation. Choose mats suitable for your vehicle’s tire size.

Portable Air Compressor

Maintaining proper tire pressure is crucial for winter driving, so having a gauge and compressor (lots of compressors have a gauge on them) allows you to check and adjust pressure as needed, even on the road.

Stocking Your Emergency Kit

Food and Water

Pack enough for at least 24 hours, considering dietary restrictions and allergies. Choose options that require minimal preparation but offer lots of nutrition, like granola bars, jerky, and dried fruit. Keep the water in your house until you’re ready to leave so it doesn’t freeze in the car: get in the habit of taking it with you as you leave on every trip.

Warm Blankets and Extra Clothes

Dress in layers for warmth, but pack additional blankets and clothing in case of breakdowns or unexpected delays. Go for real, 100% wool blankets, as wool retains its thermal properties even when wet. Keep extra socks, gloves, beanies, and sweaters in the car through the winter season.

First-Aid Kit

Be prepared for minor injuries or medical emergencies. Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any required medications.

Road Flare or Reflective Triangles

These provide essential warning signals in case of breakdowns or accidents, especially during low visibility conditions. Consider getting a hi-vis vest for yourself to wear if you’re out changing a tire.

Navigating Holiday Crowds

As the holiday spirit takes hold, so do the holiday stressors. People are in a rush, frustrated, and at times short-tempered on the road. Before you leave the house, make a conscious decision to practice courtesy and patience as you navigate the increased traffic. The goal is that everyone gets home to their families safely!

Maintain Your Cool

Holiday stress can be contagious. Remain calm and avoid aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating, cutting off other vehicles, or impatient honking, and remember that everyone is under the same pressures and wants the same thing, ultimately: to get home!

Be Careful About Yielding

Be extra mindful of pedestrians, especially near crosswalks and shopping areas. Allow ample time for others to cross, and remember that slippery sidewalks may make maneuvering challenging for them.

Parking Patience

Finding a parking spot during the holidays can be a test of patience. Avoid double parking or blocking driveways, and be willing to circle or walk a short distance if necessary. Remember, courtesy goes a long way in reducing holiday parking frustration; and that extra two minutes walk is good for your heart!

Headlights for Visibility

As daylight hours dwindle and holiday decorations cast festive glows, use your headlights appropriately. This ensures optimal visibility for both you and other drivers, especially during dusk or when it’s snowing.

Minimize Distractions

The holiday season brings plenty of festive distractions. Avoid using your phone while driving, and keep conversations with passengers to a minimum. Focus on the road and maintain your awareness of your surroundings.

By prioritizing courtesy and patience, you can contribute to a safer and more enjoyable holiday experience for everyone on Casper’s roads. And if you do get into an accident caused by someone ​else’s negligence, contact Ochs Law Firm in Casper, WY for help right away.

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Our experienced Wyoming personal injury lawyer, Jason E. Ochs will fight to help you recover proper compensation in a class action, pharmaceutical, and medical cases throughout multiple states. Contact us today.

Jason E. Ochs

Jason began his legal career in 2002 with a national multi-district litigation law firm in Newport Beach, California. There he worked on a variety of high-profile, complex-litigation projects including pharmaceutical and medical-device litigation across the country.

The Ochs Law Firm epitomizes professionalism and commitment to all of our clients, regardless of the size of the case or the might of the Defendant. We practice in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and California in personal injury litigation, medical malpractice, defective products, class action lawsuits, Qui Tam lawsuits, litigation across multiple districts, bad faith insurance, and civil litigation.

We look forward to providing top quality service and representation for you and your family.