OKLAHOMA – Nationwide roadway deaths reached a 15-year high last year, with Oklahoma’s fatalities increasing 18.7% from 2020 to 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As the temperature drops, icy and snowy roads can add a layer of risk by creating hazardous road and driving conditions that result in slower driving speeds, reduced roadway capacity and increased crash risks. Unfortunately, over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement each year. This winter, follow safety tips from OKFB Insurance to protect yourself and your fellow Oklahomans.
“Practicing safe driving year-round is essential to the safety of the community, but it’s vital to be extra vigilant when temperatures drop and winter safety hazards rise,” said Gary Buckner, executive vice president and general manager of OKFB Insurance. “That’s why it’s important to take necessary steps this winter to learn how to protect yourself, your vehicle and the people around you on the road.”
Inspect your car before driving. Ensure tires are properly inflated and have an appropriate amount of tread. The Department of Transportation recommends replacing tires when the tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch. Driving with low tread can increase the risk of aquaplaning on wet surfaces and can impact control of the vehicle and braking ability. As you check your vehicle and prepare to travel, remember to never warm up the car in the garage.
Prepare your vehicle with necessities before leaving the house. Packing the car with extra snacks and bottled water, an ice scraper, warm clothes or blankets, jumper cables, an auto insurance card and roadside assistance numbers can save lives in the event of an emergency.
Allow extra time and space when traveling. Vehicles can require up to ten times the stopping distance on icy or snowy roads compared to dry pavement. Increase following distance to five to six seconds, and be sure to accelerate and decelerate slowly. Keep firm, steady pressure on the brake and avoid sudden movements or turns.
Practice caution in icy conditions. In cold weather, do not assume the roads are dry simply if ice is not visible. Avoid using cruise control and try to steer slightly into a skid, which means aligning the front tires in the direction the car is sliding. Be extra vigilant on overpasses, ramps and bridges, as they are the first to freeze and the last to thaw.
Check your OKFB Insurance plan to learn more about coverage options that protect against winter hazards. Roadside Rescue is free for OKFB members and insurance policyholders. Whether you need a tire change or a tow, travel with confidence and the assurance of 24/7 roadside assistance. Talk to your local OKFB agent today and visit OKFB Insurance for more information on our personal auto policies to stay safe this winter.
About Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance
Since 1946, OKFB Insurance has worked to protect Oklahomans from the risks they face every day, whether it be home, auto, life, commercial or farm & ranch. With agents in all 77 counties, we are ready to serve our neighbors at a moment’s notice and are committed to helping our 140,000+ member families to insure their future. To learn more, visit http://www.okfbinsurance.com.