6 Tips For Winter Weather Driving
6 Tips for Winter Weather Driving
For those of us who have the privilege of living in regions where winter brings colder temps and a different kind of fun, winter is just great.
And it sure is beautiful too. Snow all over. People feeling cozy wearing thick sweaters and drinking hot chocolate or warm apple cider. And we can't forget the activities winter beckons such as sledding, skiing, and snowball fights among friends.
Winter Is Serious Too
With all the great things about the colder months that bring snow and ice, there is a more serious side to it too. Particularly when it comes to driving in wintry weather conditions.
Driving in snow and ice is dangerous, and requires us to be more prepared than driving in ideal conditions, and take necessary precautions behind the wheel when we have to get on the road when the weather outside is frightful.
6 Tips on Keeping Safe Driving During Winter Weather
- Slow down. It’s really a no-brainer and pretty obvious when it comes to driving in wintry conditions, but still many drivers do not heed the wisdom and slow down speeds when they are driving in snow and ice. In fact, many believe if they have a large vehicle, they are safe. The truth being, no matter the size (think 18-wheeler or your SUV) a car is no match for ice or slick,snow-packed roads. If you hit ice, your tires will not be able to stop and you will lose control of your vehicle.
- Stay clear of snow plow trucks. Snowplows make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit roads frequently. They are large and it is harder for them to make immediate stops. It takes them a long time to get speed due to their size, so keep in mind it takes them that long to stop as well. They are out doing a job, and have a lot of roads to clear without having a car cut them off, get too close and cause a distraction that prevents them from clearing what they need, or worse, cause an accident. You also run the risk of having damage to your car from spraying sand and other debris. Just stay clear and let them plow those roads.
- Keep your distance. Increase the following distance between you and other vehicles to 8 to 10 seconds. The National Safety Council recommends keeping a following distance of 3 seconds during ideal conditions; meaning when following a vehicle, pick an overhead road sign, tree, or other roadside marker and note when the vehicle ahead of you passes the marker, and then count the seconds it takes for you to pass the same marker. If it is not at least 3 seconds, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. In wintry conditions, increase that to 8 to 10 seconds to ensure you have enough time to slow down and stop, prevent a collision, or respond to a road hazard.
- Get familiar with driving in bad conditions. Do you have experience driving in snowy or icy conditions? Did you purchase a new car and have yet to drive it during winter? It is important to consider taking the car out and finding out what it can do in the snow and ice, and get comfortable practicing driving in colder weather. Go to an empty lot in the snow and ice and speed up and then brake. If you start skidding, steer into the skid. Know what your brakes can do. Stomp on anti-lock brakes and pump on non anti-lock brakes. Familiarize yourself with how your car handles slick conditions, so you can be more prepared when driving on the road.
- Keep the tank full. You never know if you are going to be stuck when it comes to winter driving. You may get caught behind an accident that locks up traffic. You may get stuck in deep snow and can’t get out with spinning tires. You just never know what can happen. The last thing you want to have happen is run out of gas. Make sure your car’s tank is always full of gas during the winter, so if you do end up getting stuck, you can keep the engine and the heater running.
- Avoid risky driving behaviors. No matter the driving conditions, season, or the weather, follow the rules and never text or drive distracted. Wear your seatbelt. Obey speed limits or go lower, and always, always drive sober.
For More Tips On Driving Safe In Winter
For more tips, download OSHA’s Three P’s of Safe Winter Driving for great advice on keeping yourself, your car, and everyone else safe while driving during the colder season.
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