Hazards of Winter Driving in New Mexico

Back side of an orange snow plow deicing and salting street in winter time.Residents of New Mexico normally enjoy a high temperature of 50 degrees in December and January here, the storm certainly took many of us by surprise. Unfortunately, that also meant that many drivers were not prepared for driving in wintry conditions and experienced frightening crashes.

Winter Weather Can Create Hazardous Driving Conditions In New Mexico

We are usually pretty lucky with our weather in New Mexico. Driving conditions are nearly always excellent—clear skies and dry roads keep us on the road safely to our destinations. However, when a winter storm does hit us, we need to be aware of the hazards it can produce—and learn how to avoid them. 

  • Slippery roads. Snow, ice, and water reduce the amount of traction your tires can get on the road’s surface, making it difficult to stop your car or maintain control as you accelerate or change lanes. Slowing down and increasing your following distance can do a lot to prevent crashes.
  • Poor visibility. Snowstorms can create white-out conditions that make it impossible to see what’s in front of you. Frozen or fogged windshields and road splatter can also limit your ability to see the road. Clearing off snow and ice before using your car, slowing down, and pulling off the road when you are unable to see are ways to protect yourself from crashes caused by poor visibility.
  • Jackknifed trucks. Semi-trucks are at an increased risk of a jackknife accident in slick conditions. Other motorists should be prepared for this possibility and give trucks lots of space in wintry weather to avoid a catastrophic crash.
  • Out-of-control cars. No matter what precautions you take to be a safe driver in winter weather, there will always be drivers who ignore the warnings and drive in an unsafe manner. Stay out of the way of these drivers, or—better yet—stay home when the road conditions are really bad.

If you are in an accident with a careless driver in bad winter weather, it’s important to remember that it is the other driver who is to blame, not the weather. If you or your passengers were injured, the negligent driver should be held accountable.

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