Are you ready for the winter? Although you might have your winter clothes out of storage, that doesn’t mean you’re ready for the icy season. You need to prepare yourself for the challenges of driving in the winter.
Prepare Your Vehicle
The best way to ensure driving safely this winter is to prepare your vehicle. Before the harsh weather arrives, give your vehicle a thorough check.
First, you should make sure your battery has no corrosion. If you’re out on a wintery day and your battery dies, you could be in trouble.
Another important preparation is your tires. When you drive on the snow and ice, your tires are hard at work keeping you safe by providing traction. Make sure you have enough tread on your tires. Additionally, check the tire pressure. The pressure should meet the requirements for your vehicle. By checking your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you can identify the ideal tire pressure.
Even your lights should get a thorough check-up. With the help of another individual, check your low-beams, high-beams, brake lights, and signals. If one of your lights is out, you could be invisible to other cars on the road.
Finally, you should check your defrosters and your wipers. If you encounter freezing conditions, you need to rely on these tools to keep your visibility high.
Know How to Handle an Emergency
One of the best tips on driving safely in the winter is to know what to do in an emergency. For one, you should avoid overcompensating in icy conditions. If you start to lose control on the ice, don’t turn hard in the opposite direction. Instead, try to gently regain control.
If you do find yourself stranded on the side of the road, stay with your vehicle. Walking too far in the cold is a health risk. If possible, place bright markers on your windows and antenna. You should also keep your inside lights on. By doing so, you make it easier for other drivers to see you.
You should avoid keeping your vehicle running in an enclosed space, like a garage. When it runs, the car emits carbon monoxide. The deadly gas builds up in enclosed spaces and causes health issues or death.
It’s always important to be an alert driver. However, in the winter, it’s critical. If you take your eyes off the road for a second, you could find yourself in an accident.
Avoid texting while you drive. If talking on the phone is a distraction, even with a hands-free device, you should avoid that as well. Keep music low and keep your eyes on the road.
When you drive in the winter, you should pay attention to the posted speed limit. Although you should always stick to the speed limit, you should be more cautious in the winter. Go slower than the posted limit in bad conditions.
In the winter, driving under the influence is extremely dangerous. Alcohol and drugs slow your reflexes and prevents you from making good decisions. Be sure to stay sober if you plan on driving. Use a designated driver or rely on a taxi to make your way home.
Drive Carefully Around Snow Plows
Snow plows make the road safer. However, they are road hazards as they move the snow. When you see a snow plow on the road, you should follow a few safety precautions.
First, you should avoid driving next to a snow plow or driving too close to one. They tend to stop frequently and make wide turns. If you’re not prepared for them to stop or turn, you could lose control of your vehicle. The clouds of snow that the plows produce could also make driving difficult.
If possible, drive and stay behind a snow plow. The freshly plowed road is a safe place for your vehicle. As long as you keep your distance from the plow, you can limit the risk of an accident.
Use Anti-lock Brakes
Snow makes it difficult to control and stop your vehicle. If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, you can prevent your wheels from locking up as you brake. It can make it safer to come to a rapid stop in icy and snowy conditions.
You should be aware that not every vehicle features anti-lock brakes. Before winter arrives, you should find out if your vehicle has them. If it does not, you should take other precautions. If your wheels start locking up mid-stop, you might need to pump your foot several times.
Don’t Drive in Hazardous Conditions
There are times when the road is simply not safe for drivers. One of the best tips on driving safety in the winter is to avoid driving in hazardous conditions.
Unless there’s an emergency that requires you to drive, wait out major storms. Eventually, the roads will clear and you can get where you need to go.
Plan Your Travels Well
In the winter, families tend to spend a lot of time in the car. To avoid a bad situation, you should plan your travels. Long trips require some diligence and careful planning.
First, map out your route carefully. Even if you plan on using your GPS, you should know the route well. This prevents you from looking down at your phone and losing focus on the road.
Before you head out, check the status of the weather and the roads. You never know when a winter storm will come your way. By keeping an eye on the weather, you can prevent getting caught in a storm.
Part of planning your travels includes checking the status of your insurance policy. If an accident occurs, you need good insurance coverage. Before you drive in the winter, know the details of your insurance policy and stay current on your payments.
Finally, you should gas up your vehicle before you leave. Even if you have enough gas to get to your destination, you should fill your gas tank. If there’s a storm or traffic, you could go through gas quickly. Keeping your tank full can prevent you from becoming stranded.