At the end of a snowstorm, when the roads begin improving and the melting
starts, many people assume the driving dangers are past. In fact, driving
in slushy conditions after a snowstorm can be just as dangerous as driving
during the storm itself. Here’s why:
The physics of driving in slush are complicated and counterintuitive. Slush is in many ways a very different animal than snow and ice. It is
slick, yes, but it also leads to far more
unpredictable physical behavior. It causes stops, starts and lurches, because the mix
of ice and water constantly changes under the tires. You can easily lose
control of the vehicle if you’re not paying attention. You can also
suddenly get stuck on the road, putting you in jeopardy of getting hit
by oncoming vehicles.
Other drivers let their guard down in slush. People tend to be more careless when snow turns to slush, because they
believe that warmer ambient temperatures signal (somehow) that the threat
is over… or at least reduced. This lax attitude puts everyone in
Slush can obstruct your view. When other vehicles pass you, their wheels may throw slush onto your windshield,
making it difficult or impossible to see.
What can you do to reduce the dangers of driving in slush?
Remain alert. Treat slush with the same level of respect as you would snow, sleet or ice.
Slow down. Until the roads are clear, assume some level of danger and adjust your
speed accordingly. Give yourself extra time to get to where you need to go.
Fill your windshield wiper fluid reservoir. The fluid contains a de-icer that can help if slush gets on your windshield.
Leave plenty of space between your car and other vehicles. You’ll have more time to react and course correct if an adjacent
driver or the car ahead of you loses control.
Watch for refreezing. Black ice is nearly invisible, and it can be deadly.
For more helpful advice about safe driving during winter conditions, check
out our post on
Safe Driving Tips for Extreme Winter Weather.
Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can assist if you’re injured in an accident. Call our office for