Winter is Coming!
As the winter months approach, the chance for icy conditions and snowfall become a real possibility. Driving in the snow, and especially in icy conditions, can be difficult for even the most experienced driver. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when winter weather conditions strike!
Slow & Steady is Best
It may seem like common sense, but the best way to avoid an accident or dangerous conditions when driving in snow or ice is to drive slowly and avoid applying excessive power, especially when driving on a hill or incline. Applying power while on an incline can cause tires to lose traction on the wet, or icy, pavement and can lead to you losing control of the vehicle. Instead, try to gain a little speed before your vehicle begins the incline and keep a steady pace while on the hill.
Slow and steady also includes accelerating and decelerating slowly, especially in icy conditions. Allow yourself plenty of time to brake when approaching an intersection and do not accelerate rapidly, as tires can lose traction easily on the ice and cause your vehicle to slide.
Plan your route and leave plenty of time to reach your destination, taking into account rough weather conditions and possible traffic delays due to accidents or road closures. If at all possible, delay travel until the weather has cleared and snow plows are able to ensure safe road conditions again.
Prepare a Car Safety Kit
Though no one expects to have an accident while driving, the chances of having an accident in snowy or icy conditions are significantly increased. One of the most important things you can do is be prepared for the unexpected and have a winter safety kit in your vehicle. Your kit should include the following items:
- Warm clothing (extra coats, extra socks, etc.)
- Extra food & water
- A flashlight
- An ice scraper
Prepare Your Vehicle
Driving in dangerous, icy, or snowy conditions can be made even more treacherous if your vehicle is not prepared and equipped to handle the weather. To prepare for winter weather, be sure that your tires are fully inflated and have a safe amount of tread left. If your tire tread is too low, your tires are more likely to lose traction and cause your vehicle to slide uncontrollably. If possible, think about investing in winter tires, which are manufactured to provide added grip and traction so your vehicle will be safer to drive in winter weather conditions.
It is also important to keep your gas tank at least half full when driving in dangerous conditions so that you’re never in immediate danger of running out of gas if traffic slows down due to an accident or rough weather.
Lastly, be sure to clear your vehicle windows, roof, and exhaust of any snow or ice that has accumulated while the vehicle has been parked. Visibility can be severely decreased in snowy conditions and your ability to observe your surroundings and make decisions can be hampered if your windows are not clear of snow and ice build-up. Snow build-up on the top of your vehicle can also be a danger not only for you, but for other drivers around you. Large blocks of snow and ice can leave debris on the roadway, decrease visibility for those behind you, or damage another vehicle if the block slides off of your vehicle suddenly. Clearing your exhaust of snow and ice is also important so your vehicle can run properly and expel fumes appropriately. Failing to clear the exhaust could lead to a number of issues with your vehicle’s performance. With winter weather fast-approaching, be sure to follow these tips to have a safe and happy winter season!