With winter quickly approaching and the country seemingly becoming a freezer, driving increasingly becomes more and more dangerous as roads get slippery and the cold impacts the way your car functions. To stay safer on the road, you’ll need to adjust your driving habits and be sure you’re prepared for the worst.
Here’s a glimpse at what can happen when driving in snow & ice (nobody was hurt in these accidents):
Let’s start with some basics — make sure your car is prepared for the cold. And before driving in winter weather, stock your car with these products to keep you safer in case your car breaks down:
- Thick blankets
- Jumper cables
- Small shovel
- Small bag of sand or cat litter for traction
- Energy drinks or bottled water
- Flashlight & extra batteries — in fact, you can use the E-Prep 8 in 1 Emergency Tool from our friends at Voxx — it has a super bright flashlight and a hand crank, so you don’t need any batteries!
- A first aid kit
- Newspapers for additional insulation
- Extra hats, gloves and scarves
- Plastic bags for sanitation
- Warning devices such as flares or triangles
If you haven’t done so in awhile, driving in the snow or ice can be rather tricky. Winter conditions require different driving tactics. Remember, “Ice and Snow, Take it Slow” — slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering and slower braking!
Here are 10 tips you can follow to help you stay safe:
- Clear the snow. If your car is covered in snow, clear it off completely before leaving. Be sure to check the windows, headlights and mirrors, and the space between the driver-side mirror & the side of the car. It can create a big blind spot.
- Drive for conditions. Don’t get overconfident with four-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive. While it may give you better traction for accelerating, it won’t help you stop any faster.
- Look farther ahead in traffic. Action by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra time to react. Observe how the cars ahead of you act!
- Keep your distance. Leave a lot more space than normal between your car and others so you’ll have more room to stop or maneuver in an emergency situation.
- Watch for ice. Look for signs warning of icy road conditions. Ice often forms on bridges when the rest of the rest of the road is in good shape, so watch out for it and avoid lane changes and other maneuvers on bridges.
- Avoid using cruise control or overdrive. Always maintain full control of your vehicle in winter conditions! Don’t let your car make a bad decision for you.
- Mind your steering. If your vehicle starts to slide, turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid, and then gradually straighten it as the car recovers. The most important thing to remember is to keep looking in your desired direction of travel. If you are looking at the snow bank, guardrail or parked car toward which you are sliding, you are almost certain to crash into it.
- Keep the gas tank full. It’ll keep the fuel line from freezing and ensure you have enough fuel in case you are stranded in traffic.
- Tell someone where you’re going. If you’re heading out for a trip on icy roads, let someone know your destination, the route you’re taking and how long you will be gone. Tell them to contact the authorities if you’re taking longer than expected without notice.
- Listen to the authorities. If the local safety authorities recommend you stay off the road, take their advice and do as you’re told!
Stay Safe. Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team