Winter Driving – Safety Tips
You hold a great weight of responsibility while driving in the winter. It is important to keep everyone on the road safe, including yourself and your passengers. Here are some reminders:
Distance Plus Recover
If you feel someone is too close behind you, pull over if you can and wait until you can get back on the road stress free. Tailgating is much worse in the winter months because cars stop much slower. Also, keep your distance when you’re behind a snow plow. Their visibility isn’t as clear as yours and anything flying back can reduce your visibility as well.
Speed, Braking and Cruise Control
Remain near the speed limit, and slower if needed, driving too quickly is the main cause for winter accidents. It’s important to feel comfortable on the road. Abrupt turns or stops might cause the car to slip, so avoid it whenever possible. If conditions are snowy, icy, wet or just plain bad, do not set your car in cruise control. It may accelerate when it hydroplanes and you will have no control over it.
Although it may not be the best of jobs in the cold winter mornings it is still very beneficial to clear off ice from all windows, mirrors, lights and to remove any snow from the roof top. You need to be able to check your blind spots. It may sound simple but, wearing comfortable clothing reduces any restrictions when looking and turning around. Have your lights on so others on the road can see you.
Keep It Full
A full tank of gas helps reduce any moisture in the fuel system. Some people place sand bags in their trunks for added weight to reduce slipping, a full tank of gas also helps. Your cell phone should also be fully charged because you never know when you will need it most.
Be sure you know your route, and plan your moves ahead of time. This will help you stop and turn securely. Although, if skidding does occur, turn into the skid and accelerate. This helps by transferring the weight of your car from the front to the rear. This will ultimately help regain control. Never brake.
Things to keep in mind for road trips
A job for the Auto-motives
It is always best to be prepared for the worst. Having pumped up winter tires is essential along with the valves covered, but get your car checked out too. Road conditions involving slush, ice, freezing temperatures and invisibility will require your car to be ready for what’s to come. Make sure your engine and batteries can handle these conditions. Update your windshield wipers and have extra defroster with you in the trunk. Test the basics as well, check your oil weekly.
Emergency Kit Essentials
Again, it is best to be ready for what winter might throw your way (and not just snow balls). Weather emergencies happen and it could lead to getting stranded, or waiting for help and its unpredictable. Dress warm whenever you go out, or bring some extra clothing. A blanket and candle are helpful too. Have some water with you, and some non-perishable snacks as well. Also, pack a small shovel.
Have your GPS backed up, and double check for road closures and conditions. Follow your route and see if there are any spots you would like to stop at, such as attractions, or for meals.
A CAA membership is also excellent for any road side assistance. This prevents family or friends having to rescue you. Hopefully they would be in the car with you traveling to a winter ski trip or winter getaway. Remember to educate any young drivers about the risks. Stay safe!