From continuous snowfall that blankets the roadways, to freezing rain that creates black ice, to vast amounts of intense fog and below-freezing temperatures, winter weather can wreak havoc for drivers. Below are some safety tips for you to follow to make sure you and your family and friends, as well as your vehicle, are safe on the road this winter.
Winter Driving Safety Tips
Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter Driving
It is important to have a reliable vehicle to drive not only year-round but especially during the winter months. A few extra safety precautions to take for the unseasonably cold and frigid temperatures, along with the harsh weather may be the addition of snow tires, a working antifreeze system, and trustworthy wiper blades and front and rear defrosters.
Make sure to always fill the gas tank even for short trips to the grocery store. Keeping your gas tank as filled as possible will minimize condensation.
A charged cell phone and an extra pair of jumper cables are a must have. Prior to getting behind the wheel, rid all windows and the top of your vehicle and lights from frost and snow with an ice scraper or a small shovel.
Winter Car Supplies
While most people may give a chuckle at the fact your vehicle is stocked with so many supplies or some do not even realize the money, time and worries these essential winter car supplies can have, it is critical to make sure you are totally ready to drive this winter. You may have the more popular items like snow scrapers and booster cables, but make sure to stock the trunk with extra clothing in case you have to exit your vehicle and wait for help. It is also recommended to have extra windshield wiper fluid, flashlight with spare batteries, one or two blankets, and some snack food to munch on.
Extra Safety Precautions on the Roadways
There are several rules to follow on the road during the winter months. Make sure to allow plenty of room between the car in front of you just in case of an emergency stop in your travels. Pay attention to your speed during harsh winter conditions and remember that the posted speed limit sign is not specific for untreated and treacherous streets. Don’t forget that bridges freeze first so use caution when driving over them and down highway exit ramps.
Even if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, don’t stretch it and still be extra careful. Just because four wheel drive vehicles can get your car out of most snowy situations, it is not anymore extra special when it comes to making sudden stops on the road. Also, be mindful of cruise control and don’t use it as much in the winter as there can be areas of black ice and other slippery conditions.
In Case You Are Stranded or Are in an Accident
Worst case scenario, you may become stranded or involved in a minor or more intense accident during winter driving. If you have access to a phone, dial 911 like in most cases and describe in detail the location, situation, and condition, but as much as possible, stay in your vehicle. If your car or wrecked cars are on the road, try to move them to the side but don’t overexert yourself doing so or waste time pushing cars as it could result in risky injuries or health issues. Like with any other accident, make sure to exchange information amongst everyone involved and make your cars visible and wait for assistance, whether it be tow trucks or law enforcement to help.