Of all people, the folks at SafeAuto know how scary winter driving can be. Especially if you’re living somewhere that gets a lot of snow and ice the winter months, being on the road can be very dangerous. Aside from making sure that you’re insured if you’re getting behind the wheel, there are many additional preparations that can make your winter driving safer and less hazardous (for you and those around you). This article will provide you with winter driving tips and teach you not only how to drive in the snow, but how to perfect it!
According to OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the three P’s of safe winter driving are as follows: PREPARE for the trip, PROTECT yourself, and PREVENT crashes on the road. Below is a list of ways to help you stay safe while driving at this very dangerous time of year that’s just too good not to share:
- Maintain Your Car: Check battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers, keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze.
- Have On Hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.
- Stopped or Stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
- Plan Your Route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the maps/directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.
- Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
- Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
- Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.
- Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving.
- Slow down and increase distances between cars.
- Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road.
- Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours, and rotate drivers if possible.
- If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver.
And what are the best tips for actually driving in winter weather?
- Buckle up.
- Slow down – remember that speed limits are for ideal travel conditions, not bad weather conditions. Black ice is invisible so make sure you’re not going too fast in case your car spins out of control.
- Be alert at all times. Again, black ice is invisible, so you never know when you could hit a patch unexpectedly.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Reduce your speed while approaching intersections covered in ice and snow.
- Allow for extra travel time.
- Drive with low-beam headlights on. They’re brighter than daytime running lights and they will make your vehicle more visible to others.
- Lengthen your following distance behind the vehicle ahead of you.
- Always use your turn signals when switching lanes.
- Slow down if you’re approaching a bridge, as these are more likely to be icy.
- If the weather starts to worsen, don’t be a tough guy. Just get off the road!
There are tons of ways to make driving during the wintertime a little less dangerous. We think that the tips we mentioned are all great things to think about before you hit the road this season. But first things first. Make sure you have great auto insurance for any time that an accident does happen (we know you never think that they’ll happen to you, but sometimes they do). For a free car insurance quote for the most reliable and affordable auto insurance around, visit SafeAuto’s website.