Winter is quickly approaching and with it comes hazardous road conditions involving snow and ice. I’ve partnered with Patrick Hyundai to bring you these eight tips for safer winter driving, to help ensure that you and your family make it through to Springtime, healthy and unharmed.
Eight Tips for Safer Winter Driving
Winter is coming. Unless you live in an area that doesn’t experience severe snow or ice, you will need to alter your driving habits to accommodate the weather and road conditions. Driving on snow and ice can be challenging when you aren’t used to it. Driving in winter storm conditions can be frightening. But these eight tips will help you drive more safely.
Avoid Unnecessary Driving
Simply put, don’t drive if you don’t have to. This may seem like simplistic advice, but we all know the temptation. You find out about a great sale at the mall, and suddenly, you’re tempted to grab the keys and head out on the road. A bad case of “cabin fever” may be enough to cloud your judgement, even when you know it isn’t safe. No matter how tempting it might be, don’t be victim of “Go Fever” when the roads are dangerous.
Monitor the Weather
If you absolutely have to be on the road, carefully monitor weather and road conditions before you head out. Don’t be afraid to wait it out If the weather will be improving later in the day. If it looks like conditions will be deteriorating through the day, reconsider the importance of your trip.
Give Road Crews Time to Work
If you are going to be driving after a heavy winter storm, wait until snowplows and sanding trucks have made the roadways safer. Main roads and highways will be priorities for the plows, so you may want to wait until the streets in your neighborhood have been cleared.
Allow Extra Travel Time
When you’re planning your trip, be sure to allow extra time. Hazardous roads mean reduced speeds, and the possibility that traffic may be halted due to accidents. Don’t let impatience put you in a risky situation.
Clean Your Vehicle Properly
Prior to heading out, be sure your vehicle is properly cleared of snow. Don’t just clear the windshield and go. You’ll need to see out the rear window as well as the side windows, so take the time to do the job right. Also clean off headlights and tail lights. Even during the daytime, in winter storm conditions, keep those headlights on. The idea is to see and be seen and decrease the chances of an accident because another motorist couldn’t see your turn signals.
Brake and Accelerate Gently
All braking and accelerating should be done gently. This is key if you want to avoid going into a skid. Allow extra space between you and the car ahead so you don’t find yourself stomping on that brake pedal. That’s a great way to skid and end up sideways. Likewise, if you hit the gas pedal hard when the light turns green, you may lose control of your vehicle. Conversely, you could simply succeed in getting yourself stuck deep in the snow.
Avoid Cruise Control
If you are going to travel on a snowy or icy highway, fight the urge to use the cruise control. It’s too easy to find yourself going too fast for the road conditions, and if you hit a patch of ice, you will need to be able to respond quickly.
Keep Your Distance From Sand and Salt Trucks
Be very careful to avoid following too closely behind the trucks that are spreading sand or salt on the roadway. A piece of gravel or a chunk of salt can easily damage your windshield at the speed they come out of the spreaders. The last thing you need is impaired vision, or the costs of replacing your windshield.
Driving in snowy or icy conditions can be done safely by just following these eight tips for safe winter driving. The main thing to remember is to take it slow and easy. Don’t be in too much of a rush to arrive at your destination. It is better to get there a little late than to not get there at all.